Monday, 22 January 2018

FOI Response : DClinPsy funding Glasgow/Edinburgh Universities: what stood out for me

Here is the response, received today, to the FOI Request to NES about DClinPsy programme funding Glasgow & Edinburgh Universities I sent to Judy Thomson, Director of Psychology, NHS Education for Scotland, on 22 December 2017:

Here are the points which stood out for me:
  • Nearly £2million per year 2017-8 awarded to Glas/Edin Universities for DClinPsy training; 179 trainees in total; it's not a lot of money when compared to the cost of psychiatric inpatient treatment, at least £3000/person/week in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, more if low or medium secure ward.
  • mention of NES developing a "confidential trainee survey" which is interesting, has it been difficult for trainees to give honest feedback?
  • "number of trainees we can afford" regarding decisions about funding; I wonder what impacts on this?  is it just a matter of budgets or do they fund other psychological or psychotherapeutic training?
  • "There is no requirement for trainees to continue to work in Scotland post qualification."  I'm surprised by this, considering the cost of training, the fact that trainees are paid to do the doctorate; it doesn't make good business sense, in my opinion.
  • I have found that the teaching materials at both universities are not openly available for perusal and I suspect if I made an FOI request that I wouldn't get to see them.  The secrecy is a concern.  What have they got to hide?  I've been told it's to do with "intellectual property" but it seems a lame excuse.

23 December 2017: FOI Request NES: DClinPsy programme funding Glasgow & Edinburgh Universities

Saturday, 20 January 2018

there are two sides to the story of mental illness & psychiatric diagnoses #PTMFramework

Some tweets this morning about mental illness and the patriarchy:


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

What are your burning issues for 2018? Safe Houses for Psychosis in Scotland #BMJ

'Re: What are your burning issues for 2018? Safe Houses for Psychosis in Scotland': my Response published in BMJ online, 16 January 2018

"My vision for 2018 and beyond is to influence the development of Safe Houses in Scotland for people who experience psychosis, alternatives to psychiatric inpatient treatment, offering a range of therapies and activities for mental wellbeing and recovery, including minimum prescribing of neuroleptics and help with tapering meds. Therefore I am researching safe haven crisis houses in other countries to evidence good practice, leadership and management, and to hear the stories from the people involved. 

Now aged 65, I’ve experienced puerperal psychosis twice, in 1978 and 1984, a menopausal psychosis in 2002, voluntarily entering psychiatric wards on all 3 occasions to be coercively drugged, eventually tapering meds myself, making a full recovery. More of my story can be found in a Psychosis Journal Opinion Piece, October 2017: 'Risk of relapse in psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness' (1) and other stories in my main blog (2).

I’ve supported my 3 sons, 41, 39 and 33, when they experienced psychosis/psychiatry, helped them taper meds as I did. Then in 2015 I transitioned a 4th psychosis after years of campaigning for justice after my son's negative treatment as a psychiatric patient in February 2012, this time avoiding psychiatric treatment (3). This was a much more positive and life affirming experience from which I emerged a stronger, more confident, person. 

I believe that psychosis is transitional, can be a journey, an escape, a positive and uplifting experience if reasoned out, worked through and helped by companions, friends who are equals, without agendas. People who are willing to share in an Other's pain and imaginings, and in so doing may become part of the psychosis journey themselves. 

(1) Risk of relapse in psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness:
(2) Chrys Muirhead Writes blog:
(3) Hospital Horrors: Patient locked in cell with no toilet, food or water; Scottish Sunday Express, 5 October 2014:

my drawing MH Strategy meeting Edinburgh 14Sep16

Risk of relapse in psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness

DClinPsy Lesson #1 Hands Off 16Jan18

going into DClinPsy CUSP meeting 4Jul17
15 January 2018: This is the first in a series of short talks to Clinical Psychology Trainees at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, in the first instance.  I've been banned from teaching DClinPsy trainees at the University of Glasgow by programme director Hamish McLeod, backed up by Andy Gumley, which has spurred me on to do this, to have an influence and to resist their dogma and discrimination.

I will likely add to these talks in future, putting in links to information and other blog posts.

Gartnavel Hospital
Hands Off

When working with patients, clients, people, please do your best not to manipulate, direct or be prescriptive.  I've seen some of the DClinPsy teaching materials and watched role play videos on CBT which, from my psychiatric survivor Mother perspective, are counter-productive to independent thinking, too interventionist.  

When I was a mental health service user what I needed most was someone who treated me like an equal, believed in my ability to recover and shared information that would help me take back control of my life again.  I didn't need parental guidance or patriarchal decision-making, or for a Clinical Psychologist (ClinPsy) to compare me to their Bipolar Mother and offload their own thoughts and meanderings (2003, Fife).  That was unhelpful.  Fortunately the CPN was helpful when she came to my home for a visit, shared her life with me, believed in me.  

Maybe coming into my home made a difference.  Seeing something of my personality and potential, who I was underneath the psychiatric drug cocktail which had reduced my agency and made me dependent on the system.  That there was a human being under the skin & drug treatment.  This is important, I think, seeing the person for who they are, and listening, with no other agenda but to be of help.


Protesting about being marginalised by ClinPsy academics, in front of the MH and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, Glasgow where the DClinPsy Programme is based: "I didn't find it pleasant being in a psychiatric hospital, was always coerced, so I'm looking to research Safe haven crisis Houses ..."

9Sep17 doing a peaceful protest

In Cupar, food shopping, my rucksack with bags inside to carry messages home in the bus.  Can't afford to run a car now, since the end of 2015, after 40yrs of driving.  It's costly to speak out about bad practices in mental health and to be an unwaged Carer, singlehandedly supporting my son after we whistleblowed about the human rights abuses of the locked seclusion room, Stratheden IPCU, Fife.  NHS Fife benefited, receiving £4.4million from Scottish Government.  It definitely doesn't pay to be a MH campaigner in Scotland.

8Nov17 at Cupar Rail Station passing through

Risk of relapse in psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness

My Opinion Piece published in Psychosis Journal, October 2017:

Link to complete article

"In my experience psychosis was a journey from one place to another, necessary and transitional, in response to life trauma. I believe that we are all on the psychosis spectrum but only some of us will require respite and a break from everyday existence. Preferably a safe haven and secure base from which we can rise again, stronger than before, wiser and more able to face the next challenge that life brings to us."

Monday, 15 January 2018

Risk of relapse in psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness

My Opinion Piece published in Psychosis Journal, October 2017:

In my experience psychosis was a journey from one place to another, necessary and transitional, in response to life trauma. I believe that we are all on the psychosis spectrum but only some of us will require respite and a break from everyday existence. Preferably a safe haven and secure base from which we can rise again, stronger than before, wiser and more able to face the next challenge that life brings to us.


I first experienced psychosis three months after the birth of my second son in 1978, due to a number of factors, the main one being an induced labour, with oxytocin, and insufficient pain relief, additional stressor was living with in-laws, in one room, another family member unwell, and all of this combined to cause me difficulties in sleeping. Psychiatrists eventually came to visit and witnessed the situation, my stress, named it “puerperal psychosis” and said it was caused by “hormone imbalance”. I had insight and agreed to voluntarily enter a psychiatric ward for respite, only to be forcibly injected with Chlorpromazine, my breasts bound to stop the milk, separated from my baby son and his two-year-old brother. I was heartbroken at being so inhumanely treated but kept these thoughts to myself, eventually took the pills, conformed and was discharged within three weeks, back into the same situation at the in-laws farm. Within a year I had come off the antipsychotic, the psychiatrist had reduced the 400 mgs/day to 100, 4 × 25 mgs, and then I just stopped it, telling the doctor at the next appointment. He wasn’t happy but the deed was done and I made a full recovery, taking another year to build up my resilience, more confident and outgoing than before. In 1984 after another traumatic childbirth, my third son was born and within a week I again voluntarily entered the local psychiatric hospital.

Critiquing risk of relapse

In “Staying Well After Psychosis” Chapter One first page the authors write:

In psychological terms, relapse is a potentially devastating and critical life event with profound consequences for the emotional and psychological well-being of the person and their family or loved ones. Gumley and Schwannauer (2006 Gumley, A., & Schwannauer, Matthias. (2006). Staying well after psychosis. Chichester: Wiley. [Google Scholar], p3)

I would like to deconstruct this terminology from my lived experience of psychosis and recovery, caring for family members similarly. And attempt to reconstruct it by asking questions, providing a response through storytelling of lived experience. Is risk of relapse in psychosis more about the fear of (more) coercive psychiatric (drug) treatment? Is the concept a form of scaremongering, keeping the fear alive? Should there be a better way of reframing additional episodes of psychoses on a natural continuum rather than an illness paradigm? Do mental disorder diagnoses linked to psychosis hinder the well-being of those experiencing altered mind states as a way of externalising mental distress? 

Every time I experienced a psychosis, after childbirth then at the menopause, I voluntarily entered a psychiatric ward as an inpatient then was forcibly medicated with antipsychotics. After the first episode in 1978, I got off the drugs within the year and regained more confidence. By taking charge of my own mental health and well-being, deciding to recover, I increased my resilience and self-determination. A major influence in regaining independence was my Mother’s personal experience of psychiatric inpatient treatment and Schizophrenia diagnosis, many courses of ECT against her will and my younger sisters being taken into foster care when I was a teenager. This made me even more determined to resist any interference by social work agencies and mental illness labels.

We decided to have another child in 1984 and considered the risks but it didn’t put me off and I was optimistic of a better outcome. It wasn’t to be. My puerperal psychosis in 1984, which began in the maternity ward, was more swiftly acted upon by our local GP who was a friend and I was dispatched quickly into the same psychiatric ward, subjected to forced internal examination and neuroleptics. It was too much for my husband and he got a vasectomy, didn’t want me going through the same coercive psychiatric treatment again. I would have risked it, to have another child. So I was effectively sterilised at 32 years of age.

I found it easier to make a full recovery in the 1970s/80s than in 2002, because of only being on one antipsychotic compared to a cocktail of antipsychotic, antidepressant and “mood stabiliser” in the later episode and a diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder justifying the treatment.

Psychosis runs in my family, cancer doesn’t. I don’t see altered mind states at times of life trauma to be the major issue, rather it’s the treatment which can be re-traumatising, overpowering and iatrogenic. Therefore, I’m working towards researching and developing Safe Houses for Psychosis in Scotland, therapeutic alternatives to psychiatric hospital inpatient care.

Declaration of interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.


  • Gumley, A., & Schwannauer, Matthias. (2006). Staying well after psychosis. Chichester: Wiley

Sunday, 7 January 2018

"the psychoanalysis of the psychosis" #HistoryBeyondTrauma "a battle to be sustained"

Tweeting about History Beyond Trauma Chapter 4.1.3 The Ghost Road on 6 January 2018 before midnight:



History Beyond Trauma blog page

stop blaming mothers for mental illness

This is a blog post directed towards male academic DClinPsy leaders at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities who, for 8 years, have marginalised and silenced my survivor Mother voice, preferring Father voices while setting mother Carers against one another.  It's misogyny.

I'm a good Mother like my Mother before me, both of us experiencing psychosis due to life trauma, in my case very painful, induced with chemicals, childbirths, existentially at the change of life and following years of campaigning for justice after my youngest son was abused in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, February 2012, for which I got blamed in an Adult Protection Investigation report.

I didn't do paid work for many years as my 3 sons were growing up, preferring to be around when they were toddlers, pre-school, then after school and in the holidays, spending time with them, enjoying their company.  We had fun together.  I ensured they got piano lessons and other musical tuition (accordion, woodwind instruments, violin) which I missed out on because we lived in a 4th floor flat in Perth as I was growing up. 

me aged about 10, photo taken by my Father Willie Patterson, Perth
my 3 boys 1987 on a visit to Perth
my Mum, pregnant with me, & Dad captured August 1952 on the High St, Perth, by a photographer; note my Father carrying my Mother's shopping bag, his smart yet casual appearance, my Mother's stylish coat, she also carrying bags, her hair long, wavy, hanging loose
My Father William (Willie) Cunningham Patterson wasn't a misogynist or a bully.  He could be autocratic and over-protective, a man of his time, principled, a gentleman, a writer of science-fiction, who liked to dress and dine well (wood pigeon, fillet steak).  He sometimes had library books out for years and would work into the night on his electric typewriter producing scripts for Jeff Hawke, Daily Express, sending them by courier to London to meet the deadline.

I remember sitting in the front row box at the circus aged about 5 with my Dad and shaking hands with Coco the Clown, and a big birthday party in the September after starting Caledonian Road Primary School, then another one aged 12 when in 1st year at Perth Academy, marking the transition.  Fireworks display organised by my Father in the wasteground outside Pomarium Flats, rockets, Catherine wheels, sparklers, in the dark, the skies lit up.  He wore cravats, smoked cigars, Capstan and a pipe, had nicotined fingers.  My girl friends when I was at the Academy thought my Dad was handsome, I was a bit put out by this, he was just my Dad.

Looking back, I wasn't used to misogny, and was a confident child with a sense of self, trusting in my own judgements, my family home a safe place and refuge from the world.  On choosing a husband I looked for someone who would provide for me and my family, a safe house and secure base.  I met his family in 1971 and liked his Mother who asked me when I'd be marrying her son, before he said anything!  We got on well.  She was a gem.

my Mother-in-law Elizabeth Muirhead, photo taken by me in her front garden 1976

Saturday, 6 January 2018

looking ahead

14 September 2016, MH Strategy event Edinburgh
Looking ahead this year I want to focus on researching Safe Houses for Psychosis, gathering stories and information about safe havens and crisis houses in the rest of the UK which might benefit Scotland.

I visited ESTEEM early intervention psychosis (EIP) Project Glasgow on 11 October 2017, meeting with Team Leader Ivano Mazzonchini, and it was a positive experience.  I don't want this to be lost in the negative stuff which followed, that very day, on the way back home, in a letter from the Glasgow DClinPsy Programme Leader.  I complained, it wasn't upheld.   

I think that EIP projects can be a useful alternative to psychiatric inpatient treatment and wonder why the Esteem model wasn't taken up by other health boards in Scotland.  It could have benefitted my sons 2008-2012, in Fife and Tayside, avoiding coercive polypharmacy and locked seclusion room abuses.  Water under the bridge.  EIP for 18-35yr olds is only available in Glasgow and after 1Feb12 I've had to campaign for justice and care for my son singlehandedly, until this present day.

Written in an Email recently:

"I believe that psychosis is transitional, not a disorder, and can be a journey, an escape, a positive and uplifting experience if reasoned out, worked through and helped by companions who are equals, without agendas.  People who are willing to share in an Other's pain and imaginings, and in so doing are part of the psychosis journey.  Transference and counter-transference.  Level playing fields.  Being human."

Safe Houses for Psychosis, that's my vision and hope for the future.

Friday, 5 January 2018

FOI requests: more about the process than the outcome

Mr Gray on twitter
Blog post 6 December 2017: 20 questions on clinical effectiveness at Stratheden Hospital 18 July 2012 containing an FOI Request to Paul Gray, Director-General Health and Social Care/Chief Executive of the NHS Scotland

"Can you please let me know if "recording of use of seclusion, incidents etc. to track change over time in terms of the patient safety agenda" has happened since my son was abused in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden IPCU nearly 6 years ago? 

I would like details of this and the Scottish patient safety agenda, in respect of restraint, seclusion, abusive incidents, human rights issues of locked-in patients.  How this has improved since 2012, how patients and carers are being listened to now, we weren't back then.  And any other information that would help me to understand how things may have, hopefully have, improved for people experiencing mental distress or psychosis and entering Stratheden Hospital voluntarily as a patient, to be supported through psychosis and extreme emotional distress.

I would also like to know how unwaged Carers are being better supported than I was in 2012 after whistleblowing about the locked seclusion room's human rights abuses: no toilet, no light, no water, locked up for hours in the dark, unobserved.  Physical, mental and sexual abuse by Nurses, invading bodies, face down restraint in faeces and urine, as ways of "managing" locked-in seclusion room patients who have shouted for the toilet but not been heard because staff were down the corridor in their staff room, out of hearing and out of sight.  Resulting in glandular infections and series of verrucas, broken hand still needing treatment after psychiatric discharge.  I had to listen to the flashbacks from the abuse for years, my son lives with me.  We got no other support apart from occasional psychiatrist appointments.  Abandoned by community MH services, despite completing a Carer Assessment form.  Unpopular for speaking out about psychiatric abuse and neglect.

This is an FOI request."

Here is the letter FOI response I received 21 December 2017, containing links to the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, Scottish Government and Carers Trust Scotland websites (it didn't enlighten me as to actual improvements within Stratheden Hospital).  And a screenshot of letter:

Thursday, 4 January 2018

#HistoryBeyondTrauma 6.1.1 The Mad Tea Party 4Jan18

blog page History Beyond Trauma
blog page Staying Well After Psychosis

Studying Chapter 6 of History Beyond Trauma, 6.1.1 and revisiting the Therapeutic Relationship in Chapter 4 of Staying Well After Psychosis:

it is hard to kick against the pricks (of the ox goads)

[strapline from Acts 5 verse 9, King James Version of the Bible]

Just wrote this in Email to a friend:

"I think that you are challenging the powers that be, in this case the god academia.  Who seem to be driving the oxen, the doctors.  And you are kicking against the goads or pricks (of the goads, the long sticks used to prod the oxen, was just looking it up after the phrase came to mind, to check the meaning). 

You are pricking their conscience.  They don't like it.

Well done on being a prick ....!"

Monday, 1 January 2018

narrow corridors and pet projects

The strapline sums up what I've experienced when engaging, or trying to be meaningfully involved, as a survivor Mother voice on the DClinPsy Programme at the University of Glasgow, situated at Gartnavel Hospital, red brick Admin Building, having first attended a Service User Research Group there on 9 September 2009.

link to Prof Pell's uni page

I've been banned from teaching Trainees on the Glasgow DClinPsy programme by Prof Hamish McLeod after I'd appealed to Prof Jill Pell for a meeting to discuss my concerns about the lack of level playing fields and the years of constraints.  My Stage 2 complaint was not upheld.  [blog post containing letters from McLeod, Senate Office and my response]

I contend that the narrow corridors are influenced by the pet projects of the lead academics, namely Attachment Theory and Risk of Relapse (Prof Andrew Gumley), together with attributing flatness or Anhedonia to Schizophrenia or mental illness (Prof McLeod) rather than, in my experience and others, to the psychiatric drug treatment, often coercive.  ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) is another corridor which can keep a patient/person corralled inside an abusive system, rather than helping them break free.

It's disappointing after 8 years of hoping that my survivor voice might be valued within Glasgow DClinPsy, to find out that they saw me as "less than", favouring others who fit their agendas and could comply, or pretend to comply, with the constraints of the narrow corridors.  The last user/carer (CUSP) meeting I attended on 4 July reminded me of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.  At any moment I might be faced with a Shrink (drink) Me potion and transported back to 2014 when I "belonged", prior to winning the Ombudsman case and an apology from NHS Fife.  

It's not a game when your children have been abused in psychiatric settings, forcibly drugged and locked in a cell with no toilet, water or light, in the dark for hours at a time, unobserved.  Very risky practices.  I didn't see any Clinical Psychologists speaking out about this.  Or standing with whistleblowing Mothers campaigning for justice.  They prefer to constrain, manipulate or silence our voices.  A misuse and abuse of academic power, in my opinion.  And I'm entitled to have an opinion and to state it.  Even if it results in banishment from Glasgow DClinPsy.  So be it.

wee film from Springfield Rail Station 1st January 2018

[the film isn't all sideways, it's just my son having fun ๐Ÿ˜€]