Saturday, 20 July 2019

memories of being research fodder for DClinPsy academics

A brief post remembering what it was like to be a person with "lived experience", a survivor of mental illness and psychiatric abuse, participating in DClinPsy (Clinical Psychology Doctorate) user/carer groups at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities between 2009 and 2017.  It was a tokenistic, negative experience, being made to feel "less than" and at time likes a zoo animal in a cage, to be honest.

Hopefully it has improved.  I don't know, haven't been back, got banned from Glasgow Mental Health & Wellbeing Unit after 4 July CUSP/user, carer group meeting, and retreated from the Edinburgh APEX equivalent ClinPsy affair.  They had rescinded my "unconditional" PhD offer in May 2017 after about 9mths of raised expectations that were dashed.  Being told that "life isn't fair" and undermining comments regarding my ability to write academic essays.  (I've got 2 postgrad qualifications, latterly in 2008 from Stirling University, a TQFE in Care subjects)

It was in around 2015 at an Early Intervention Psychosis workshop that a senior ClinPsy lecturer from Edinburgh Uni admitted that "service users" were invited to the event as they may be useful for research purposes.  She had forgetten that I used to be one of those "service users", I think.  Psychiatric survivors are a different kettle of fish, especially if escaping lifelong mental illness.

My memory of these years of trying to be "meaningfully involved" was of male academics struggling, a sense of clenched fists and gritted teeth from some, red faces on others, blank looks on one or two, those who had learned to be "mindful" and put on the ACT of listening so as to attain a Professorship.  One of them avoided the user/carer group so I had to claim them as PhD supervisor, to see what they were made of.  A classic act of manipulation which got my goat at the hinter end when they kept catching my other supervisor, who had just recovered from a head injury, on the stairs, to tell them what to say to me at our next meeting.  I was not a happy bunny ....

4 May 2017, after last PhD supervision meeting
9 September 2017 DClinPsy Glasgow protest
It's interesting looking back at these photos, remembering what it felt like.  I was furious at the way they treated me and others with "lived experience".  They set us against each other at meetings by favouring some.  It was dire.  Pet projects and cronyism.  Furthering their own agendas.  It was worse at Glasgow than Edinburgh but neither clinical psychology academic programmes had much to commend them in terms of meaningful involvement of the real folk who matter in mental health, the users, survivors and carers.


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