Saturday, 26 September 2015

'Man, myth, legend...’To high Dunsinane Hill’ the Macbeth tourists shall come!' @C_MAlexander

'Man, myth, legend...’To high Dunsinane Hill’ the Macbeth tourists shall come!': Michael Alexander in The Courier (Perth & Kinross):

"If trees could talk, then the gnarled and ancient Birnam Oak which rests wearily on crutches on the south bank of the River Tay at Birnam would surely have some amazing tales to tell.

Whilst not nearly as old as the legendary 5000-year-old Fortingall Yew, further north in Highland Perthshire, the Birnam Oak, complete with its three metres of hollow trunk, is thought to be one of the sole surviving trees of the great Royal Forest that once straddled the banks and hillsides of the River Tay.

[photo from Courier]
History records that the Royal Forest, which includes Birnam Hill, was gifted in 1160 by Malcolm, the Maiden, to Duncan, Earl of Fife, on his marriage with Princess Ada, the King’s niece. This Duncan was a descendant of that MacDuff who accompanied Malcolm Canmohr on his march to oust the real Macbeth in 1054. Macbeth was finally defeated and killed in a battle at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire on August 15, 1057.

But it was Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a blend of fact and fiction written over 400 years ago, which gave rise to the notoriety of the famous Birnam Wood, alongside Perthshire’s Dunsinane Hill, near the village of Collace.

The places were immortalised by Shakespeare when he wrote:””Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.”
The prophecy of Shakespeare’s three witches did come true, with the branches of trees from great Birnam Wood, camouflaging the advancing army against Macbeth.

The Bard also gave his lead character the title of ‘Thane of Glamis’, which lies in Angus whilst Scone Moot Hill is where Macbeth was crowned.

It is believed that Shakespeare got inspiration for this section of 'The Scottish Play` during a visit to Perth, Birnam and Aberdeen in 1599 as one of a troupe of comedians. ..."

Read complete article

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Whistleblowing in NHS Scotland: Omphalos films

Whistleblowing in NHS Scotland from omphalos 

"This is an unedited clip of the evidence given by Paul Gray, NHS Scotland, Chief Executive as given to a Scottish Parliament Committee on the 29th January 2014.

In this evidence the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland is asked about his views on whistleblowing and gagging clauses.

The full Parlaimentary committee meeting was recorded and can be viewed here:

Music credit: Dexter Britain (under common license)"

Monday, 21 September 2015

'One Last Push - All Together Now?' film from Disability History Scotland

"Published on Jul 27, 2015
One Last Push is a short animation that has been created by the Scottish award winning animator, Muckle Hen.

This exciting short film is to coincide with our lottery funded project, All Together Now?

Both the project and the animation work to emphasise the changes (and lack of them) in societal attitudes towards disability and those living with impairments from the end of The Great War to the present day.

The items and memory chest that are featured in the film are to be used as a discursive tool and can be accessed on loan for group discussions and community events.

Email enquiries to or call Alex on 07584109760

Enjoy and share with anyone who you think will be interested."

Monday, 14 September 2015

Pulse blog post: America has been drafted in to save the NHS, 1 September 2015

From Through the K Hole: America has been drafted in to save the NHS, Pulse, 1 September 2015:

"‘We’re gunna save da mudaf***ing NHS’, declares the United States of America.

America, famous for world peace, intelligent foreign policy and its fair and equitable healthcare system has been drafted in to sort out the NHS.

We spoke to Hank Studbuckle, a pumped up physician associate from Minnesota. ‘Y’all got yourselves a fine commie system over there folks. But if my name ain’t Hank Studbuckle Junior y’all better start prayin’ to baby Jesus ‘cos for fifty grand a year I’m a comin’ over to work in your fine NHS…yeeee haaaaa, yes I am.’

He then dropped his trousers, revealing star spangled underpants, and let off a couple of shot gun rounds, narrowly missing the brim of his own hat. Once the gun smoke had cleared there was a very long and very awkward silence.

A government spokesperson said: ‘I don’t know why the GPs in this country are so surprised. All we’ve done is create lots of internal domestic problems by meddling with things we know nothing about thereby spreading fear and moral panic amongst the public. 

Does this sound familiar?

On the positive side America will help us through it all. God bless America!’

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh"

Sunday, 13 September 2015

A Hard Pill to Swallow by Marion Scott, Scottish Sunday Mail, 13 September 2015

[thanks to Dr Peter Gordon for heads up!]

My advice Bob? Shut it down if it's bankrupting you.

The reason I decided to quit being a blogger for madinamerica was because of a big advert on their front page which popped up asking for money.  This was annoying because I do all my blogging for free and, for that matter, all my mental health work.  I am now 63 and a pensioner, living in a council house (social housing in Scotland) and an unwaged carer for 2 sons with mental disorder labels who have been disabled by psychiatry.  Which means I am financially poor.

Here is the Email I sent to Robert Whitaker, who I had invited to Scotland to speak on his Anatomy of an Epidemic book, in November 2011, hosting him in Fife, finding a nice guest house on The Scores, St Andrews, a room with a sea view, and driving him to the seminar venue, Elmwood College, Cupar, on the day.  My son and I also took Bob out to Anstruther, East Neuk of Fife, for a walkabout and a fish tea, after the seminar.

Strapline: huge advert on MIA asking for money [sent 11 September 2015 at 11:40]

"Dear Bob

I noticed recently that a big advert is coming up on your madinamerica website asking for money.  It fills up the whole page.

I find this very offputting and wondered what the thinking behind it was?

Hope you can explain,

Regards, Chrys"


Meanwhile as the day wore on I decided to withdraw from MIA and sent another Email, see former blog post: shameful? it's a Wordpress blog. Not the Boston Globe

Bob responded after the shameful Email [11/09/2015 23:55 (GMT+00:00)]:

"Well Chrys, we are trying to stay alive. 

We used to ask people to support us (there was a popup), but so few readers have, and we are dying financially.

With this new popup, which you can say no thanks to in about three seconds, it urges you to make a donation directly.  A person who donated $1 or more would have the popup turned off for a year. 

Do you find that too much to ask of our readers? A few dollars for a year?

Any way, this website has been a financial disaster for me. In every way. But whereas I have only put money into the website, I do believe in paying people at least a very modest amount who are working for the site, and of course we have many expenses related to hosting the site, web development and such. A site with our traffic and complexity would normally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to run, and we do it for about $50k, even though we don’t raise anything close to that.

We are now running out of money, and unless I can figure out how to generate more revenue, I would have to shut it down.

So what is the thinking: I am trying to keep MIA alive. 

Sorry you find that off-putting. 



I got Bob's response the next morning, along with the other shameful one, after doing some photography in my garden with my Canon EOS, capturing the bonnie flowers, here's one from out back, of Lavender and Roses:


And sent this short, pithy and to the point Email at 7.45am (I still had to get my breakfast so was hungry):

Strapline: if bankrupting you then close the doors

"My advice Bob?

Shut it down if it's bankrupting you.

To add. My wordpress blog costs nothing to run. Not sure why yours isn't."


And then I sent another one at 8.16am after getting some breakfast and was at the PC, getting into my stride:

Strapline: institutional? differences between newspapers and blogging websites, in case you didn't know Bob

"And what's with the "institutional" references?  3 times.

Blogging website are different from newspapers. 
  1. if I was writing for a newspaper I'd get paid. 
  2. I'd have a contract
  3. there would be bonuses and other benefits from being in a media team
  4. opportunities to buy into a pension scheme (too late for me as I'm a pensioner already)
  5. and no doubt many other things that I don't know about because I've never worked for a newspaper
Although my dad did and look what happened to him?  Shafted (excuse the expression)."


my blog post from Friday, 1 May 2015: remembering my father Willie Patterson: author of sci-fi strip Jeff Hawke; one in a million; 1986 dedication Titan Books

me with my Mum and Dad 1953 at my Granny's house

shameful? it's a Wordpress blog. Not the Boston Globe

Yesterday I received an Email from Robert Whitaker (dated 11 September 2015 at 23:50) in response to my request to have all my posts removed from his Mad in America blogging website:

Strapline: Re: please remove all my posts from madinamerica

Here is the response from Bob (words in red) with my Email (words in blue) below: 

Dear Chrys,

I suppose that you could delete all your entries, but I would ask that you not.

I consider MIA posts to have archival value, much like articles written for a newspaper, and once they are published, they are part of a published record. 

I am sorry that you want to erase any institutional memory of your posts on MIA (and of course, you must understand how harsh that sounds to me), but they are part of the institutional records, and I want that institutional record to be maintained. I am sorry you consider it shameful that you ever published on MIA.

As for survivor voices speaking out, we have always sought to have survivor voices, and I have a new editor for survivor voices, Emmeline Mead, who is a survivor herself and great. Her job is to increase the frequency and diversity of such voices. 

On Sep 11, 2015, at 8:53 (12.53 our time) AM, Chrys Muirhead wrote:

Dear Bob
Can you please remove all my posts from your website and anything about me?  Thank you.  [I have resisted, this time around, going in and removing them myself, although I would prefer to do so, as a matter of principle]
I haven't liked the way that the MIA site has developed since Kermit Cole became editor and the continual battles with him over punctuation and grammar.  It started off, if you remember, with Kermit editing my stuff then letting me know.  It felt like an invasion of space.  Then there was all the moderating stuff with Matthew Cohen.  It just felt that they didn't handle it as well as they might have.  Water under the bridge.
Now when I look at MIA it is a completely different animal from when I got involved in January 2012.  It doesn't suit where I'm at, and that's OK.  It's not my website.  I just miss the times in early 2012 when there were so many survivor voices speaking out with no thought of selling a book.
I was grumping about it on Facebook just now but I'll delete these comments and just make a statement to say I've asked for my posts to be taken down.
Yes, S C (I have blanked name out to protect this woman) and others have been grumping about MIA for some time.
No point in washing the dirty linen in public, as they say.  It doesn't help the cause although I may write about it at some point.  And I will stop drop by MIA to see what's happening.
I don't regret coming on board in Jan12 and being able to write on MIA made all the difference in my campaign for justice, in the early days.  Writing on your website gave me confidence.  Thank you for the opportunity.
All the best, Chrys
Good luck to you.



To which I responded on my Galaxy 6 at 7.35am the next morning, on rising (at that point not having seen the words added by Bob to the body of my Email):

Strapline: shameful?

Bob who said anything about it being "shameful"?

Not me.

To add it's a Wordpress blog. Not the Boston Globe.

More anon ....

Saturday, 12 September 2015

yesterday I decided to stop blogging on Mad in America; today Robert Whitaker agreed to remove my posts

More anon ...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

for the roses; John Macmurray: Freedom in the Modern World

In the back garden sunshine yesterday afternoon, listening to Joni Mitchell and reading John Macmurray.  With Foxy.

thanks to Jeanne for recommending this song

back garden rose

1932 publication; 1995 reprint (ex Wandsworth library)

sincerity and friendship

love and fear

emotions and intellect

Monday, 7 September 2015

letter about DCP-Scotland Review: Redressing the Balance Summer 2015

Letter just written to Simon Stuart, Editor of DCP-Scotland Review: Redressing the Balance Summer 2015

Strapline: letter about DCP-S Review: Redressing the Balance

"Dear Simon

I happened to come upon your tweet about the DCP-S Review, retweeted by someone I follow, and so I took a look.  Saw your comment "what am I actually stepping into?".  It caught my interest and so I took a closer look ...

The more I read, the more incensed I got.  And tweeted my thoughts @ChrysMuirhead:

"reading through the piece by Ruth Stocks. Much talk of tactics and agendas, better marketing. My opinion? Huh."
"just noticed that "one of the carers' groups" was opposed to CPs taking on statutory roles. Well done Carers! I agree."
"there is no way I would recommend CPs having more power in Scottish MH Law. Very scary thought. Young pretenders."
"not sure who Ruth Stocks is. Never heard of her. She didn't join my campaign against psychiatric abuse."
"just googled up Ruth Stocks, says Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologist. Mention of "Violence Risk Assessment". Huh."
"there are pages and pages about CP statutory roles. CPs assessing capacity. Now that is very scary. Man the lifeboats."
"written by Alison Clark CP @nhsfife where CPs have stood by holding the coats #psychiatricabuse I'm speechless ....."
"well done @RCPsychScot opposing statutory roles for clinical psychologists!"
"still more and more pages about why CPs should this that and the other. Self absorbed tosh."
"Finally something worth reading at page 34 ... the voice of an expert. By experience. And another one. If only these voices had filled the pages rather than the others"
"this is what you have been stepping into Simon. I have stopped resisting! (cartoon attached)"

I'm an unwaged carer, an unpaid mental health writer, activist and human rights campaigner.  Since February 2012 I have been singlehandedly fighting a case of human rights abuse perpetrated against my son in the IPCU of Stratheden Hospital, Fife, (locked seclusion room, no toilet or water to drink, for hours on end, unobserved) and had my complaint against NHS Fife upheld by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in September 2014.  After 30 months of raising complaints and campaigning.  During that time I tried to get meaningfully involved in the DClinPsy courses at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, sometimes travelling for 7hrs from my home in NE Fife, to do so.  Eventually I gave up trying earlier this year.  It was tokenistic and meaningless.  I say this as a reflective practitioner, and professionally qualified community education worker and FE lecturer in care subjects.

I got involved in the DClinPsy "user carer" groups because I'd been disappointed with clinical psychology provision in Fife.  Three of my family members, myself included, have engaged with CPs at Stratheden since 2003, and I've twice met with the Head of Psychology, NHS Fife, in around 2011 to highlight issues in psychiatric treatment.  None of it was positive.  Some of it was very negative and damaging to my family.  I found that CPs did not listen to what we were saying or asking for, in terms of therapy.  Eg we asked for CBT and got mindfulness.  None of it was person-centred.  I have many examples of engagement to back this up.  Including West Fife where I met with a lead CP in Lynebank Hospital.  Who patronised me and tried to tell me how I should behave.  This was when I ran Peer Support Fife ( voluntarily and was critical of their Moodcafe website which was out-of-date and inaccurate.

You asked me via twitter to write a response and this is it.  I am not going to read through the DCP-S Summer Review in any closer detail.  I don't have the time for it.  I spent nearly 6 years trying to be meaningfully involved in the clinical psychology training courses and was eventually bullied off the groups.  As things stand it tells me that clinical psychology in Scotland is not interested in the voices of psychiatric survivors, unwaged carers and the real "experts by experience".  They are more concerned about their own affairs and about gaining more power.  I cannot and do not support their hierarchical shenanigans.  

I wish you well in your career.  

Yours sincerely,


Copying in other clinical psychologists I know in Scotland and who I have engaged with"


 blog post 29 August 2015: holding the coats

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

'paradigm shift? @CoyneoftheRealm: Yes to an epiphany' post: response from Mary MacCallum Sullivan

[25 July blog post: paradigm shift? @CoyneoftheRealm: Yes to an epiphany]

Mary MacCallum Sullivan: "Response to ‘a newly qualified clinical psychologist working with people who've experienced psychosis and I worry about being part of a system that, for some at least, seems to have been more abusive than therapeutic. I wonder what your thoughts are about what the profession needs to do differently to be part of the change in the system that you envision?’

I have no intention here to speak on behalf of Chrys, but from my own experience as a psychotherapist and a person.

Chrys points out that, if you don't know what it's like ‘to have your agency taken away’; if you haven’t experienced ‘an altered mind state’, you should be listening to and respecting the person who has. She remarkably reveals: ‘I trusted [mental health professionals] to take care of me as if they were my parents’. 

Is it so surprising that she should resent being forced to take medication which radically damaged and curtailed her sense of self?

She says ‘Yes to an epiphany and Yes to a paradigm shift that will mean treating a person in a psychiatric setting as an individual with the capacity to say No to forced drugging and invasion of personal space’.

Clinical psychologists, together with other mental health professionals, could usefully seek to not only listen, but actually hear and feel, what Chrys is saying. Recognise the need – and the opportunity - for the paradigm shift that Chrys calls for, so that the subjective experience of people suffering from the degree of distress that qualifies for a mental health diagnosis is fully respected.

Recognise also the trust that has been placed in you – we are in loco parentis. And especially when someone is so vulnerable, we must seek to honour that trust. We will fail, no doubt, but that failure should be acknowledged, and hopefully repaired if we open ourselves to learning from this other, this other that I am meeting here and now, this particular other. I should not base my thinking on what the books say, what the ‘evidence’ says, but on my attempt right now to just be with this person and pay close attention to what it is that they most strongly need from me in terms of my response and my action, hopefully in the service of their well-being – as defined by them.

There is an important question of social and interpersonal justice, and clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists are in the front line here."


Cradling the Chrysalis: Teaching and Learning Psychotherapy: Revised Edition (The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy Series) by Mary MacCallum Sullivan (Author) and Harriett Goldenberg (Author) 

"This book addresses the ethical and philosophical basis for the teaching/learning involved in becoming a psychotherapist. How can training prepare prospective psychotherapists, counsellors, and counselling psychologists for a task whose practitioners cannot even agree as to whether it is an art or a science, an impersonal clinical interaction or a profoundly humane, even 'spiritual' encounter?

The authors believe they share with their students a passion about the possibilities inherent in this particular kind of conversation. Such a meeting demands a fully personal engagement and a profoundly ethical attitude towards the relationship with the Other; it is also potentially an important beginning in 'repairing the world'. ..."