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I did a short (20 minute) talk at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Conference recently, alongside Rob Poole (Chair), Linda Gask and Dariusz Galasinski. The title of the symposium was “The new anti-psychiatry” and Rob proposed it to the conference committee and it was accepted as three speakers and a chair, with significant time left for discussion.

We had an enjoyable and productive time both before and during the symposium, and the event was surprisingly well attended. As a bonus I also got to meet Samei Huda, which was a real treat.

Anyway, some rather special people who couldn’t be there suggested that I should do a version of the presentation as a blog, so here it is. I have included most of the slides from my talk here with a narrative that corresponds to what I said on the day in a slightly fuller way.

First, the title of the talk I gave was:

Slide01

As a clinical psychologist, cognitive-behavioural therapist and mental health professional, I know a person’s perception of current events is shaped by the meaning they attach to such events, which in turn is influenced both by their values and previous “history”. “What happened to you?” is of course a key question which should always form part of our understanding of the way a person reacts to their present situation.

So; What happened to me and how might this relate to my reaction to the “Power Threat Meaning Framework” taking this as an example of current criticisms of psychiatry and clinical psychology. Hence the place of this presentation in the symposium.

Link to BPS publicity site for PTMFramework can be found here

How did my beliefs about psychiatry and anti-psychiatry form?

I qualified 40 years ago, Since then I have accumulated “lived experience” of the highs and lows of Psychiatry, mental health care and Clinical Psychology from the perspective of being a Clinical Psychologist and clinical researcher. I would also go as far as to say that, when I was in my first post-qualification job in Huddersfield (in lovely West Yorkshire, for those who don’t know!) this experience meant that I would have considered myself to be somewhat anti-psychiatry. This was a direct result of some obvious abuses of power and failures of care promulgated by some Consultant Psychiatrists I worked with. For example, I saw “maintenance ECT” being offered to large numbers of patients, I saw poly-pharmacy of epic proportions with horrific effects on service users. Insulin coma was being used and “abreaction” (“psychotherapy” under intravenous medication) was a frequent horror. Prolonged restraint and other abusive practices were common in the large long-stay hospital I spent time in, sometimes (but not always) pausing for as long as outsiders such as myself were in the building. So I was pretty “anti” all that appallingly bad practice.

It was also clear to me that poverty and discrimination were major determinants of psychological ill health which needed addressing but were largely ignored. My analysis of the situation at the time was that what I was seeing was some kind of assertion of medical supremacy and the valuing of “clinical experience” over evidence. Evidence was almost entirely disregarded except when it came in the form of Pharmaceutical company propaganda and incentives. I repeatedly argued with the consultant psychiatrists about a range of things including but not confined to benzodiazepine addiction, over-prescription in general and the need to move away from reliance on diagnosis onto formulation based approaches, something which came from (notably) Monte Shapiro, but which I had also learned from some very good psychiatry colleagues at the Maudsley. So, then as now, I was absolutely NOT anti-psychiatrist!

Slide02

Forty years ago what were the clinical psychologists up to? Just like many of their psychiatrist colleagues, there was a tendency to reject evidence in favour of their “clinical experience”. There were a great many unqualified and frankly useless Psychologists. Even amongst those with an interest in evidence, some were embracing what we would now call “conversion therapy”; usually in the form of faradic aversion therapy (giving electric shocks to put people off being gay (Really!).

Slide03

So yes, I was frequently anti psychiatry and sometimes anti clinical psychology BUT I also had the opportunity to connect with some wonderful, thoughtful and compassionate people who happened to be psychiatrists. We had great arguments and we were able to support and help a lot of people experiencing mental health problems.

Ok, so that was then. Is this still true for me?

Since then, Psychiatry has changed, and Clinical Psychology has changed. Clinical Psychology kept at its heart the importance of individual formulation, which in CBT developed into the idea of shared understanding and guided discovery. Diagnosis was there, and provided you weren’t stupid enough to believe that a diagnosis told you what a person’s problem was (but might help you consider where to look) then it was useful as an operationalisations of some key problems.

Fast forward some years and we have :

Slide04

So the BPS/DCP express concern about diagnosis and call for a paradigm shift. Then we have a proposal called the Power Threat Meaning Framework, funded by the DCP, but not in any way approved by it or its membership. Matter of fact, the membership are given no say.  Which is fine until the email announcing the setting up of the “implementation group” which reports directly to the DCP executive!

This all seemed very odd. I and others expressed concerns. The email is withdrawn….it was a mistake we are told.

Then about a year later, without explanation….Slide08

Who cares?

Ok, so why do I care if my professional organisation wants to implement this “new” framework?

Lets unpack my concern by first considering what the PTMF actually is. There is a fuller version of my summary and critique, co-written with an expert by experience (with whom I had no previous connection) here:

Power Threat Meaning Framework: innovative and important? #PTMFramework

In this, we sought to address the implication that the PTMF was “innovative and important”, concluding that what is innovative was not important, and what is important is not innovative.

Briefly here is the context

Slide09

Slide10.

So that’s a problem, reminiscent of other hard to understand texts, and strongly suggesting that its not intended for the public, but is rather focussed on a more academic/philosophical audience.

What does the PTMF really say?

I tried to summarise the core of PTMF in a Tweet, and this is what I ended up with

Slide11In my view thats not too bad as a summary.

Surely its all about the narrative?

So now to the narrative underpinning the framework, not least because the authors indicate that narrative is crucial, something I agree wholeheartedly with.

Slide12

It all starts well; we have some statements which are about as close to truth as we get in psychology and psychiatry. BUT: these are mixed in with some blatant non-sequiturs. The problem, in my view, is the implication that to disagree with the non-sequiturs can be taken as disagreement with the other better supported statements. Things are much more nuanced than this. Adversity and Trauma can and do have serious effects but it does not follow that the application of the power-threat-meaning framework should therefore be used instead of best practice empirically grounded psychological or psychiatric approaches. To reject the PTMF package does not mean that you deny the importance of trauma in mental health, or that you are foolish enough to believe that psychiatric diagnosis tells you what  a person’s problem actually is. There are some important points made, but they are not innovative.

Slide13

There is much more that could be said about the “seven provisional patterns” proposed in the framework; I express my concerns about these in the Mental Elf blog if you are interested. Suffice it to say that I found it really astonishing to see this anti-diagnosis group propose seven diagnoses based on untenable claims about causation of mental health difficulties. This innovation is not important.

So, that brings me back to my early experience of bad psychiatry and crappy clinical psychology. What’s the connection? In my view it’s this:

Slide14

Underpinning my “anti-psychiatry” back in the 1970s, and my concerns about clinical psychology at the same time was the reliance on clinical judgement and untestable theories. Yes, I quite like the ideas of Karl Popper. My view is that good clinical psychology (and Psychiatry) is a skilful blend of clinical art and clinical science. Such a blend is driven by empirical grounding, which includes but is not confined to both evidence based approaches and testable theories which evolve thorough quality research sensitive to threats to validity. To reject positivism is to take us back to the dark ages of our field, where clinicians followed their whims. Paul Meehl said something along the lines that people make the same mistake for 25 years and make a virtue of it by calling it their clinical experience. That was what I was seeing in both psychiatry and psychology forty years ago, and I don’t want to go back to those days. In my opinion, PTMF risks doing just that, and the signs so far are not reassuring.

Paradoxically, significant proportions of the early PTMFramework chapters seek to draw on some very positivist research in a highly selective way in an attempt to demonstrate social “causal” influences in MH. That’s a serious problem, because so far we have not been able to identify any “causal” factors in MH at all. Moderators, sure, but not causes. Those of us who are “positivists” have focussed on research which helps us to identify why some people experience problems which are particularly severe and particularly persistent. There is pretty decent evidence that dealing with these key maintaining factors is very helpful for those with MH problems, so we keep on trying to refine this work. Overall research in mental health focussed on the three key factors of Development, Delivery and Dissemination, and we are making headway in all of these domains. But causes? We know next to nothing. And of course, it probably goes without saying that the appropriate positioning is not anti-anything, but is pro-helping, blind to professional affiliation.

Why bother with positivism? Surely we and those who seek help from us just know when things work?

Lets take one of the key points made by PTMFramework for delivery of MH treatment; the importance of trauma focussed practice. Fundamentally I agree with this point (MH care should IMO deal with trauma where present as part of an integrated approach, collaboratively developed with the service user) but its JUST NOT ENOUGH to just say this. What kind of trauma focussed approach and how will it be applied? We know now that harms can be caused.

Mayou, Ehlers and Hobbs (2000) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.176.6.589

This remarkable paper changed the world in my view by demonstrating that a brief, well intentioned, credible and well delivered psychological intervention not only did not help but actually caused harm, which endured for at least three years. It made people worse.

I recall, back in my “anti-psychiatry” days, receiving a referral from one of the consultant psychiatrists with whom I regularly clashed. He said something along the lines of “We’ve tried hospital treatment, every drug we have in high doses and a bit of ECT so I don’t suppose that psychological therapy can do any harm”. What I didn’t say then but am saying now is that inappropriate psychologically informed approaches can and do harm, in a similar way as most likely was done by what preceded the referral. Just because its trauma informed does NOT mean that it is helpful, and indeed trauma informed care can turn out to be harmful, as the Mayou study demonstrates.

There has been another example recently brought to my attention. This one is particularly weird, and linked to PTMF appendix 7 (Trauma informed care pathways). There is a publication relevant to it:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292383070_The_Care_Programme_Approach_Sexual_Violence_and_Clinical_Practice?fbclid=IwAR1g2NzVZAnIcY1-8-mDjyTP-NZljmu7S1CwzfmAAT0-jJujddyqT2dyA7s

Here’s the surprising if not shocking data from that document.

Slide17

I find this literally incredible, but so far been unable to get clarification of it. I really really hope that this is not true. Let’s be clear regarding my potential bias in this respect. I consider personality disorder DIAGNOSIS to be horrifically bad practice, for lots of reasons including these studies:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjc.12093

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy/article/an-experimental-investigation-of-the-impact-of-personality-disorder-diagnosis-on-clinicians-can-we-see-past-the-borderline/4A2E43B72792EEB68C497CF95ABBA0D7

If it is really true that the brand of trauma informed care use in Tees, Ask and Wear resulted in almost all those seen in acute psychiatry services getting PD diagnoses, then that should sound very loud alarm bells. “Trauma informed care” cannot simply be a mantra to be applied on the basis of ideology, but rather an approach to be evaluated in the context Quality Improvement Research and empirical grounding.

Rejection of positivism is the worst thing we can do. Think Baby-Bathwater

It seems to me that the PTMFramework suggests that MH should back away from empirically grounded and evidence based approaches. The reality is that, although MH care is a very long way from being good enough, it has over the last 40 years improved through a process of refinement stemming from a positivist approach. Yes, we can measure things and therefore find ways of doing things better (and stopping doing the useless things). To take any of the good elements identified in PTMF forward in my view this has to be from an empirically grounded positivist perspective. How else would we know if the framework as a whole (or elements of it) is helpful, pointless or even toxic to those we seek to help? The seven provisional patterns are clearly seven Alt-diagnoses; how might services users and MH professionals perceive these, and might their adoption be helpful for those to whom they are applied?

I have managed to be at odds with the DCP for a good portion of my career, and this doesn’t look like changing any time soon. The idea that a small group of psychologists with a couple of closely aligned EbE can produce a framework (which was not peer reviewed nor subject to any primary research) that would then be implemented nationally is patently absurd. So why have the DCP set up a PTMF implementation committee? The not unrelated DCP “Beyond Diagnosis” Committee appears to have foundered and failed. I would assert that clinical psychology is at its best splendid; in my view, that is when it takes the form of an applied science linked to understanding, caring and kindness. This is not the PTMF, which can and should be given the opportunity to prove itself not by DCP and BPS dictat but through proper discussion and scientific (including positivist) evaluation. It may or not be anti psychiatry, but it is most definitely not pro psychiatry or even pro working together, which in my view is profoundly sad. Why can’t we be critical friends, working together? I think we are good at that when we do it and when we seek to include service users as partners.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my experience tells me that anti-(bad-)psychiatry was justified precisely because, without saying so, many of those involved in it 40 years ago were IMPLICITLY anti-positivist in that they simply rejected empirical grounding in favour of their own inflated sense of wisdom. A similar approach characterised much of clinical psychology, with CPs bemoaning that they did not have the powerful positions that their psychiatric colleagues were abusing.  Later bio-psychiatry suffered from a different malaise of complex and theory free speculation bolstered by poorly conceive and conducted studies in which the theoretical underpinnings were simply that the brain (or a neurotransmitter in it) was “faulty.”  I commented elsewhere that the saddest aspect of the decade of the brain was that psychiatry lost its mind. Phenomenology was disregarded and dead fish showed brain activation in fMRI. This was not science, it was a colossal fishing expedition in more ways than one

Overall though there are reasons to be positive (but never complacent) about psychiatry and clinical psychology. There has definitely been evolution (but no paradigm shift or revolution) and increasing emphasis on more integrated theories and the beginnings of involvement of those with personal experience. However, when a group of clinical psychologists seek to implement an EXPLICITLY anti-positivist framework and seems to co-opt the Clinical Psychologists Professional body, the DCP, into this implementation, I am alarmed for the same reasons I found mainstream psychiatry to be damaging 40 years ago. I don’t care how we label it; here I’m offering it not only as an example of the new anti psychiatry, but also anti-clinical psychology. A plague on both your houses.

Its been ages since I wrote about the Linden Method, and in many ways I am pleased with what has happened to their advertising pitch. Sure, much of what was wrong about the advertising is still there. The oddest twist of all was the way in which referral to Trading Standards for non-compliance with the ASA ruling has been turned into an endorsement rather than what it really is; according to the ASA “The ASA can and will refer cases to Trading Standards when a marketer is unwilling or unable to follow our rules and our self-regulatory sanctions have not brought them into line.”

Anyway, other things have happened. Most of the Logos which should not have been used have been removed and thats very good, well done. Oddly given the ASA ruling and the involvement of Trading Standards most of the inappropriate claims remain. However, having had some contact with Trading Standards in Worcester and nationally I am afraid to say that I am not too surprised by this.

And now there is what looks like a relaunch! Congratulations to his web design team for a really slick new look. First thing you notice is that the headline contains a startling new claim. Linden has “helped over 22 million people to truly understand their mental health and to use simple, scientific, common sense methods to regain control and stability in every aspect of their lives… to recover: and it’s so simple.”

This is indeed an extraordinary claim, and as I have noted elsewhere, someone very sensible said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. I first applied that to the Linden method about ten years ago. As yet, no such evidence has been provided.

So, does the new look website improve on the problems I have pointed out elsewhere in this blog? Has Martin Jensen, the person who was “independently” (!) evaluating the Linden Method, finally finished his MSc and published his work, or done new work? No, I’m afraid not.

 

What you will find in the website is extraordinary in other ways; its what looks like an attack on Mental Health Services and self help websites. You will find this on the page titled “Bad Advice and the things that will make you worse”. If it was he who wrote this, the self styled “World’s leading Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks and Stress Recovery Expert” may have misunderstood the most basic of basics: high quality research into the effectiveness of treatment.

The website says:  “Psychology talks of ‘evidence based treatments’, of which, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is just one; but what is the evidence for its and other therapies’ curative effectiveness?”

Very strangely, it then asserts that research in this area has “found (or not looked for) no evidence of failure” which he attributes to the field “asking only one question” viz: ‘After receiving treatment X, how many people came back for more?'”

It then goes on to say that all treatments other than their own are “based on this type of statistic”; that is, “if you don’t come to the sessions it means you are cured”.

In the words used in that website: “What utter nonsense.”! Here I am applying that judgement to the claims made by the website itself.

The website says that their approach is so respected because they “don’t provide manipulated statistics”. I have, in a previous blog post pointed out that there may be problems with what was described as an “independently conducted trial“, not least because of, ahem, what looks like manipulation of both measures and statistics. I always found it amusing that we were invited to believe this stuff because they used the computer programme, SPSS.

Please read these  previous posts and draw your own conclusions.

Then, much more importantly, look at the extensive actual evidence base for treatment of anxiety. This is extensive; for example, that for panic  You will see that this is all about treatment effectiveness. You will also see, if you look more closely, that “people not coming back” is described as a problem, not an outcome, and a range of ways have been developed to deal with this. You can find details if you look at the analysis called “intention to treat”, which is the norm in these studies, and was a quality indicator for the NICE guidelines. Helpfully, NICE provides both the full evidence base, which is long and technical, shorter versions for practitioners as guidelines for decision making, and accessible service user/suffer versions to help with shared decision making, which in my view is what is required. We have called this elsewhere “evidence based patient choice”, and I regard that as the gold standard.

The next bit of this Linden website is the strangest; there have however been previous hints of this. It seems to be suggested that Mental Health Services don’t help people to keep the services “in business”; in the words of this website, to keep the mental health businesses “sustainable” by not getting people better. What is said specifically is:

“Sustainable = don’t cure everyone/anyone. This works well for healthcare providers though because incompetence=low results and as long as they can get patients to trust their word… they can, pretty much, perpetuate the business model ad infinitum.”

Now I know what the NHS values are, and am passionately committed to them. The statement above makes you wonder about the values of Linden Method/Tree and Charles Griffiths and his team. I personally find the claims that Mental Health Services operate a business model of not getting people better to be offensive to the many committed mental health professionals who do their utmost to help service users to recovery and cure. That is what we do.

Finally, this website goes on to “quote” what is says is another website which is described as disgusting.

It says: “Today I read something on one ‘official’ website that provides servcies for OCD – I won’t say which one because they don’t respond well to people correcting them…It stated… ‘OCD causes anxiety. Often, OCD causes the patient to feel anxious.'”.

I’d be happy to deal with the critique which follows,  but when you put that quote into Google either as a whole or as two separate sentences, the only website that comes up is Linden Tree “Bad Advice”. It would be odd, wouldn’t it, if they were attacking their own website? Anyway, if anyone can identify the website concerned, I might try to unpack the critique offered, but as it stands I’m left with a conclusion previous conclusion.

My new, up to date conclusion? It seems that, although the web format has changed, the Leopard has not in fact changed its shorts.

 

 

I just thought I would update anyone who is interested on this. Last summer two things happened; I was threatened by “Charles Linden”‘s lawyers with legal action (see other posts) apparently because of this blog and Charles Linden / Griffiths complained to the police that I was harassing him. To cut a long story short, the policeman who visited decided not to serve the harassment notice. My lawyers responded to Charles Griffiths/Linden/Lamplitt indicating that I was standing by what I had said. Then, from September, nothing. My legal advisors indicated that I should  make no more comments about anything other than the legal position as it was, which is what I have done, although its a bit annoying to be de facto gagged.

A couple of weeks ago, I started to get daily posts for various things Linden on my facebook page (which I use for personal rather than professional purposes; Twitter I use professionally  @psalkovskis )

This just kept coming, so a couple of times, when bored, I protested as a Facebook comment, along the lines of “Don’t know why this is on my facebook page” then putting a link to this blog.

A few days later, I was contacted by the police. A further complaint had been made about harassment from Charles Griffiths/Linden/whatever. I explained what had happened, and pointed the officer concerned to the sergeant who had dealt with the  previous situation. I also updated the police on the situation with respect to the (threatened) civil “defamation” case

A few days later, the officer contacted me to tell me that they were not intending taking any further action.

So, that’s where it is. I’m not harassing anyone, but I continue to assert the truth of what I have said here.

.

The British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology have recently released a position statement on classification and diagnosis. Those of you who are prone to suspicion might consider that this forms part of a group in the DCP who are pursuing an anti-psychiatry stance. Personally, I don’t know. Anyway, here it is.

http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/Public%20files/cat-1325.pdf

I recently responded to this in my capacity as the Director of a Clinical Psychology Training programme, and thought I might share my response, which can be found below.

“I know that we all received the attached document, with the injunction to take it up as part of our training programme:

“We feel training courses are well placed to ensure that up and coming members of the profession understand and can critically engage with the issues connected to functional diagnoses.”

I have no idea what the DCP think we already do in this respect, but find myself worried about how out of touch they seem to be. Alternatively, do they, perhaps, have particular programmes in mind where psychiatric diagnosis leads psychological training? If so, I think these should be named and shamed, because that would be a disgrace.

My understanding is that, without exception, clinical psychology training programmes take a critical view of psychiatric diagnosis and already teach formulation, providing the context of psychiatric classification systems as very badly flawed operational definitions. The fact that the NHS requires diagnoses in record systems is regrettable (and something I have taken up at times with NHS trust management) but a fact. As a clinical psychology trainer I have to prepare trainees to work in the NHS and that carries implications about what we teach (but not how). The DCP might want to take such issues up with the NHS in collaboration with other professional and service user groups, and I look forward to that as something long overdue.

Personally, I am a bit horrified that the DCP is announcing things in this way at this point; it makes it sound as if this is something new which we are itching to introduce into the profession, sweeping away what has gone before as part of a glorious revolution of thinking. This is very much not so and in my view represents a shocking position being taken by the DCP without prior consultation with the membership. An ignorant observer might suspect that the DCP has another agenda.

Although I have no problem with a Kuhnian position, I’m always suspicious of announcements of a “paradigm shift” ahead of the development and demonstrable utility of that new paradigm. And “new” is a key concept here. It is not as if psychological formulation is a new concept; its in the “DNA” of clinical psychology, put there by some very clear thinkers from a psychological perspective, starting but by no means finishing with Monte Shapiro. What I am asserting is that there is no paradigm shift and I believe it is counter-productive to make such a claim. The fact that it is done in my name, as a member of the DCP, seems to me to add insult to injury.

What on earth is the DCP thinking of?”

I note that some of the “core issues” identified apply at least as much (and in some instances more so) to “psychological formulation”. There is also no attempt in the position paper to consider the potential drawbacks and shortcomings of formulation and other alternatives. In my view the hallmarks of a campaign rather than a carefully thoughts out position paper.

Again, what on earth is the DCP thinking of? I think we should be told.

 

As we are about to move into the fourth series I thought it worth revisiting what I was thinking previously. Nothing has changed that I can see other than the addition of a few extra cynical ploys! Paul

psychonoclast's Blog

Betty TV had sought my input for the second series. I have now formally declined their invitation, and give my reasons in the email below.
I am very interested indeed in the fact that Time4Change are working with them. Is it possible that they are missing the point?

Dear Rebecca
Many thanks for your invitation to discuss the programme “Obsessive Compulsive cleaners” with a view, as I understand it, to advising on the second series.

I will definitely not do so. I have thought long and hard about this, and want to make clear why, as someone who works with the media on mental health issues, I think it inappropriate to engage in any way.

Quite simply it is because it is clear on reflection that the second series cannot change the basic flaw in the premise of the programme as neither your company or Channel 4 acknowledge the problem…

View original post 105 more words

As is probably clear, I have sought legal advice in the light of threatened proceedings by Lyndon Charles Griffiths (also known as Charles Linden) regarding what I have written on this blog regarding “The Linden Method”. A very brief update and a short reflections. I continue to wait for things to unfold in the legal sense, having been advised that it is best to simply keep the status quo on the blog with factual updates (such as this rather boring one) until things are further along. As soon as I can I will update in substance on this topic and reflect more on what I have learned.

As I have previously commented, it is extraordinary that discussion can be de facto blocked in this way. One of the really important things in the world of science is that issues such as efficacy are open to full discussion without recourse to threats. This can lead to very lively debate which at times can be acrimonious. However, you can be certain that the protagonists are all keen to get as close to the truth of the matter as possible, but differ in their assumptions about what that means. As a result, a set of conventions have evolved with some shared assumptions regarding things like what constitutes evidence and so on. Sometimes there are disagreements on the assumptions which underpin these conventions, as for example the tension between empiricists and social constructivists, but nevertheless there is scope for identifying common ground.

Here I find myself in entirely different territory. I am very grateful for the various messages of support that I have received in this matter. Quite happy to have more!

I have been told that it is prudent to not say more about The Linden Method for the time being. I think that this is part of what is meant by libel laws having a chilling effect on important discussion. Normal service will resume however as soon as I am advised to continue. And boy, do I have a lot to say! All of what I have said and will say is true.

Apparently there are other options.

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/01/16/how-british-libel-laws-help-rich-villains-escape-the-scrutiny-of-the-press/

 

I have recently become interested in the way libel law works, hence this review which gives reason for thought.

This post is best understood in the context of previous posts in this blog.

On Wednesday 28th May, at 8pm, in a quite unexpected way, the question of harassment was raised in relation to this blog. In the process, I enjoyed a conversation with a pleasant and constructive police sergeant, who was both careful and thoughtful in the long and interesting discussion which we had. This experience (which as I say was a good one) meant that I then carefully considered and reflected on my own motivations in blogging about, so far, Channel 4 and Betty TV, IAPT and the Linden Method. There are a range of immediate triggers and influences involved here, which are for the most part set out in the relevant blogs. However, I found it helpful to consider the values which underpin my motivation to put this stuff out there, and the extent to which these values lead to any kind of harassment. Although this is a simplification, the results of my reflection so far are:

All of us, within the limits of our capabilities, have a duty to bring attention to deception and dishonesty which demonstrably has a negative impact on those who are more vulnerable.

If we allow ourselves to be intimidated into not doing this when we truly can, then the total sum of decency in the world is diminished and we as individuals are seriously devalued.

Publicly identifying such falsehoods is not harassment. Publicly perpetrating falsehoods for personal or commercial gain is fraudulent and should activate our sense of duty to others.

Seeking to supress exposure or criticism of falsehoods perpetrated for personal or commercial gain is also fraudulent.

Now I am fully aware that those who take the moral high ground risk being buried in it, so I would be most grateful for comments from anyone who disagrees with me reasoning around these values, which, I think, are similar to those held by many others who publish blogs. In part this is about “public interest” but, I think, more about personal values.

By the way, the originator of the complaint of harassment made against me was one Lyndon Charles Griffiths alias Charles Linden. Extraordinary!

I was surprised that Kingston University had allowed the use of their logo to promote the Lindon Method “research” study, so I asked them for clarification. Here is what they said (and copied to me):
Dear Kirsten:

I can’t find such a person registered on any course at present, and the name is not familiar from the past. I’ll circulate and see if anyone knows him. We certainly don’t endorse any such programme – can you arrange for a “formal” university request that the logo be removed from the site and that there be no mention of the university whatsoever in this context?

Regards,
Phil.

Then directly to me: Thanks for alerting us to the issue! He appears to be an ex-student who graduated with a BSc back in 2006; we can’t find any other link to the university.

Best Wishes,
Phil.