Synopses & Reviews
?At one point in the 1970s, 900 people were engaged with a therapeutic community in Toronto. Living together, and sharing emotional problems, the participants helped to create an institution owning houses, farms, and buildings. Therafields, the largest urban commune in Canada, was created by Lea Hindley-Smith, a woman from England with no formal training in therapy. But she exuded an astounding charisma, and developed ardent followers. Initially, students and faculty from St. Michaels College, University of Toronto, were drawn to her, and gradually the word spread that this woman had enormous power to listen, and to heal. Carpenters, poets, teachers, lost souls they all found a home in Torontos Annex neighbourhood. And according to one of her followers at the time, Lea was a gifted healer, a real estate entrepreneur and, as it turned out, a woman stalked by madness.” When the real estate market turned sour in the late 1970s, the financial structure began to crumble. At the same time, Hindley-Smiths health started to fail, and by the early 1980s the movement had collapsed. Here, Grant Goodbrand reveals the behind-the-scenes story of Therafields.
A behind-the-scenes look at a 1970s phenomenon, this studywritten by someone who was involved in and a key member of the movementdiscusses Therafields and how 900 people came to live in a therapeutic community in Toronto. The stories of the participants, who not only lived together but also helped build a real estate empire, and the charismatic but not accredited founder Lea Hindley-Smith are explored with unparalleled access to their lives. Also examining how the downfall of the commune coincided with the 1980s property bust, this is a comprehensive look at a therapeutic commune.
About the Author
"Readable and authoritative history." National Post"An important and honest history of a promise that couldn't be kept. It not only does justice to the true spirit of that promise, Grant Goodbrand also bravely honors its failings." Critics at Large"A wonderful book about one of the most interesting experiments of the storied 1960s . . . A moving, heartfelt, and thoroughly researched book." Words to Go
"Therafields is the remarkable story of a unique commune that flourished in the Toronto area in the 1970s. . . . The book is written by a former insider who admires Hindley-Smiths apparent intuitive genius but spares no criticism when describing the weaknesses of her movement. . . . It makes for good reading." Canada's History