Strapline: being set up to fail [risk of relapse]; equating psychosis with mental disorder
"Dear Matthias, Andrew, Rosie
I received a positive response from my mentor Professor Andrew Gumley, summing up conversations which we'd had by Email and finishing with "Hope these thoughts are helpful as they reflect the kind of commitments and solidarity that I feel can support you on your quest.".
Prof Schwannauer also responded, to a previous Email I'd sent him, firstly on 23 April then resent on 26 April, asking for a meeting to discuss funding. He only responded when I sent the Email above. There was a lack of communication between us and this was concerning. Prior to this I'd had to resend Emails to receive an answer from the Professor.
A meeting was arranged between us, on 2 May at 1pm in his office. I'd also sent a more recent Email, saying that I would like to discuss a presentation which he'd given to DClinPsy trainees, topic of 'Interpersonal Processes', strapline of Email "Why does the majority of mental disorder develop in early adulthood?" from Slide 3, in which I said "to be honest I'm horrified". A strong word but it was how I felt upon reading Prof Schwannauer's presentation.
Introductory slide had this quote:
"Slumbering time bomb" on Slide 3 I found this very stigmatising and discriminatory, deterministic and wrong. Eight of my family have been subject to psychiatric abuse because of mental disorder labels. I was undertaking the PhD to evidence safer alternatives to psychiatric inpatient treatment.
I said to Prof Gumley in this Email 28 April: "I don't have the time for academics who are trying to undermine me. This is not a game. My family have been abused in psychiatric settings.".
However when I arrived at Prof Schwannauer's office just after 1pm on 2 May, slightly late, his door was shut and I knocked on it. He had 2 women in with him. And so I waited outside. A few minutes later the women left and I entered. As I sat down the Professor said that Rosie would be joining us. That was a surprise, I hadn't been informed, but was fine about it. Eventually she appeared and the meeting began.
From the offset the meeting didn't go well, it felt like two against one. Rosie had met up with Prof Schwannauer prior to this and it seemed they had agreed a plan of action about me, without me being present. Rosie and I were sitting on the armchairs and the Professor was sitting slightly higher in a hard backed seat. Rosie did most of the talking, took the lead. The Professor sat back and watched the show, or so it seemed. Interjecting here and there. (Puppet Master?)
Then he said in response to my statement about requiring my PhD fees to be paid and funding to be secured "no way we can guarantee success there". I wrote it down verbatim. I knew there and then that the Professor was not on my side. "he that is not with me is against me" I was being undermined. Again.
At a previous meeting with Prof Schwannauer, 7 February in the Dugald Stewart Building, Edinburgh University, my academic mentor also present, I'd been expressing pain at my son's treatment and the cost of campaigning, how it wasn't fair. To which Schwannauer responded saying "Life isn't fair". No compassion. My situation wasn't of concern to this Professor. He didn't care and was aloof from my struggle. (Mindfulness?)
Edinburgh University DClinPsy programme places trainees in Fife, in Stratheden Hospital where they had been using a locked seclusion room for decades to "manage" the patients. Head of Psychology at NHS Fife, Dr Katherine Cheshire, who I met with twice in 2010/2011, said to me that she had no authority in Stratheden. I thought it a copout and another demonstration of "mindfulness". Minding her own business while others are being abused. Or selfishness.
They only stopped using the locked seclusion room when I "won" the Ombudsman complaint September 2014, having been awarded £4.4million by Scottish Government as a result of my whistleblowing regarding the abuse of my son in the Stratheden IPCU.
On 28 April I Emailed a good friend and confidante, a consultant psychiatrist, and said to him:
"I'm very concerned about this (presentation slides, "slumbering time bomb" quote). My PhD will be an important piece of work and I will require support from my academic supervisor. Up to this point I've not been supported and I wonder if Prof Schwannauer and I are poles apart, in terms of our understanding of psychiatric treatment and mental disorder labels/diagnoses.
And I'm not keen on the "mentalisation" philosophy, or metacognition.
During the supervision meeting on 2 May in Prof Schwannauer's office I knew that our relationship was over. I didn't trust him. And sent an Email early the next morning, to him, Rosie and my academic mentor:
Rosie and I have worked well together in the past. I don't appreciate that you appear to have manipulated her to stand with you against me. That's unacceptable, regardless of your reasons for doing so. I'm not putting up with it. Rosie doesn't deserve to be "piggy in the middle".
I wanted to speak plainly. Slept on it before saying anything to you. I'm not confident with you as my PhD Supervisor. I will require someone else to supervise me, along with Rosie, someone who is with me, not against me.
Copying in Andrew for his information. I'd Emailed him last night with my concerns.
I'm very unhappy with your behaviour. I hope that I've made myself clear. The PhD course of study is important to me, part of a long term strategy, a pathway to eventually developing safe haven crisis houses in Scotland. Gathering evidence of good practice. I will need supervisors who are with me, not against me. People who are covering my back, not stabbing me in the back. People who can take criticism from a psychiatric abuse survivor, unwaged Carer and Mother. People who can understand my pain as a Mother of 3 sons who have been abused in psychiatric settings because of experiencing psychosis.
I would be happy with David Gillanders as a supervisor if he was willing to take me on.
Nearly 4 hours later I received this response from Prof Schwannauer, the quickest response I've ever had from this academic:
and then another Email from him, 29mins later, ending with "I genuinely wish you all the very best with your endeavour and I remain inspired by your motivation and energy for it.":
Here is part of an Email I wrote yesterday, requesting another Clinical Psychology Supervisor:
"I've got a PhD place within Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh therefore I will require at least one Supervisor within the department who can support me to do my best. If Paul Hutton had still been in post there I would have asked him. But he left for Napier. You don't need to be my Supervisor Rosie. I can see that you're a busy person. Please don't feel obliged. David Gillanders suggested you and I went along with it.
I need a Clinical Psychology supervisor who can guide me through academic processes at Edinburgh University and also support me in research and writing. Someone who I can go to with questions and who will respond as promptly as possible, bearing in mind their commitments. I'm good at self direction and hard work so won't require that much support once I've got funding and the process is underway. However at this point, prior to getting funding, I will require much more support and information about university procedures. Which I've not been getting from either of you. For whatever reason.
Over to you, Matthias, to suggest or recommend someone who will support me to access funding, to get established at Edinburgh University as a PhD student and be a supervisor who is loyal and can stand with me. I don't think it's too much to ask, considering my pedigree."
By this time I was getting very fed up with the game play. All I require is a Supervisor for my PhD who can advise and support me through the process, firstly in securing funding for fees then for project costs. And during the research and writing. Professor Andrew Gumley is a supportive academic mentor and friend, who has demonstrated in our relationship, since 2009 when we first met at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, Glasgow, that he understands something of my pain as a psychiatric survivor and Mother, and I trust him.