Tuesday, 11 September 2018

why do psychotherapists encourage people to kneel at their feet?

Or maybe the question should be, why don't they discourage it?  

I've witnessed this on a number of occasions, in person and on social media, where therapists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and the like make pronouncements as if they were gods, expecting their followers to obey without question.

I first saw this in around 2005/6 at an event in Kirkcaldy where a Professor of psychotherapy and his wife gave a presentation then afterwards sat on chairs at the front of the large reception room, people came to speak with them, kneeling on the floor at their feet.  I thought: what's going on there?  What's that all about?  Couldn't understand it.  Have seen a lot more of it since, working in mental health matters, and not just with "therapists".  I saw it at the Minorities Conference 5 July 2016 after Lucy Johnstone's talk when coming back into the room and seeing a young guy at her feet and I told him to get up.  Johnstone should have told him.

Prof Gumley said I'd be in my "element" at this event; he was correct

I suspect it's to do with the psychological training giving therapists the ability to manipulate vulnerable people while also distancing themselves from the "other".  Setting them above the people they work with, believing their celebrity status and the power they have to hold an audience and peddle their wares.  

I had further dealings with the Fife psychotherapist and his wife over the years and it was useful to have seen that first engagement from afar, how they expected adulation as their due, a disrespect for those they perceived as "less than".  It helped in the 8 years of trying to be meaningfully involved as a person with "lived experience" in DClinPsy programmes at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities.  From 2009 when I attended a Service User Research Group at the red brick Admin building Gartnavel Hospital with Ross White and Andrew Gumley.

I can still remember that meeting, having a photographic recall.  Coming in late, the 2 academics giving "therapy" to a woman who didn't seem to be mentally well, a FT paid worker with ACUMEN, or maybe she was just taking advantage of having 2 therapists available, for free, manipulating the occasion.  I wasn't happy, the meeting was meant to be about user research and I never did get my travel expenses from White.  Of course the meeting was really about research fodder for academics, we were just a means to their end.  This pattern went on for years at both DClinPsy institutions.  It's probably still going on, ad infinitum.  A tokenistic, tick box affair.  Not my cup of tea.

4July17 leaving DClinPsy Programme
in the front row at the Minorities Conference BPS London 5Jul16

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