Newly Discovered – ‘Parabl’!

I’m sorry to say that I must have taken my eye of the ball recently – someone has contacted me to draw my attention to the disappointing experiences that they and others have had with an outfit operating in north Wales called ‘Parabl’. Parabl? I had never heard of them. My correspondent described Parabl as being ‘the love child of MIND and CAIS’. Alarm bells rang immediately (please see blog posts ‘The Mysterious Silence of MIND’, ‘Introducing CANIAD’ and ‘A Total Lack of Transparency’ for more background on MIND and CAIS).

So I did a quick google and found this – ‘Parabl’, an organisation claiming to be a ‘talking therapies partnership’, a partnership working to improve mental health and emotional well-being in north Wales.

I have now perused the website of Parabl and yes, the grubby pawprints of MIND and CAIS are all over it. Indeed, when I clicked on ‘News and Newsletters’ and then on ‘We Need To Talk: consortium calls for improved access to psychological therapies’, I went straight through to the all-singing, all-dancing website of CAIS. And when I clicked on ‘vacancies’, I noted that there was a vacancy for a counsellor – one can only apply for this vacancy through CAIS.

The website of Parabl takes one into some very familiar tropes – we’re fighting stigma again! – and there is robust promotion of a few other things that I have been taking an interest in for some time eg. CBT (north Wales-style that is), Mindfulness, and other ‘psychological therapies’ and the people who offer them in north Wales. I will be blogging further about these topics soon.

The Parabl website is peppered throughout with compliments from (unidentified) people who have found Parabl and what it is offering so helpful. But Parabl excels in the ‘Feedback’ area of the site – scores of satisfied customers whose lives have been turned around by dear old Parabl are quoted.  Then, at the end, ‘Feedback From Professionals’: a comment from a Sian Jones, Health Visitor BCUHB and, most interestingly, a comment from a Sean Clarke, Clinical Programme Manager, Primary Care and Psychological Therapies ‘and involved in the commissioning of Parabl’ – so just a little bit of a conflict of interest there then…

However, regarding feedback on Parabl, my correspondent tells a different story: Everyone I have ever known to contact Parabl has been turned down as they are ‘too ill’ It seems the only way to get to be seen by Parabl, is if your Anxiety/Depression scores are that low that you dont actually need their services?!

There are clues all over the Parabl website that what they are actually offering is all as cheap as chips – potential clients have to ‘self-refer’ (ie. contact Parabl themselves); there is then a ‘telephone assessment’; and there is extensive information about clients receiving ‘CCBT’ ie. computerised CBT – you don’t even get to meet a human being (I have long been interested in the notion of ‘computerised CBT’, as all experienced therapists acknowledge that successful therapy hinges on the interaction between therapist and the client ie. two PEOPLE interacting). And it seems that Parabl speedily rejects anyone who might actually be in distress.

So once more, a ‘service’ recently commissioned by the Betsi (I note that Parabl was established in 2013) leads back to dear old Dafydd Alun Jones (please see blog post ‘How No-One Knew About Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’) and the organisation that he established and continues to Chair, CAIS. It is clear from Parabl, that a very cosy relationship exists between MIND and Dafydd – but I have seen clues pointing to this for many years…

At this rate, the Betsi might as well just reopen the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and put Dafydd back in charge again.

Meanwhile, patients continue to die.