Notice To Readers: Possible Threat To The Continued Existence Of This Blog

Dear Everyone,

I have received a message from my hoster, telling me that there has been a complaint lodged with them regarding the form of words that I used in one sentence of my post ‘The International Language of Screaming’. The person who has complained has not alleged defamation or libel and has admitted that the facts in the post are correct. They have complained because they maintain that I have implied that Julian Paulley obtained a law degree from the University of Buckingham because of the role that his father, Dr John W. Paulley, played in establishing that University. I have been told that Julian Paulley did not obtain his degree from Buckingham by any other means than earning it through the usual process.

I have amended the wording of the post accordingly and am happy to clarify that I have no evidence at all that Julian acquiring a law degree from Buckingham University had anything to do with his father’s role in the founding of that institution.

My worry isn’t about the nature of the complaint, it is about the timing. Once more, someone has raised a trivial issue and timed their complaint to arrive with my hoster, which has a policy of requiring a response to complaints within 48 hours, late on a Friday afternoon. The hoster is based in the Philippines and I cannot get hold of them over the weekend. The deadline for me responding will fall tomorrow afternoon. If an automatic system doesn’t understand that I have amended accordingly, the blog could disappear without notice at a time when I cannot contact the hoster.

A wily old fox used this method in an attempt to have me taken offline some months ago, although there was no substance to their complaint.

So if the blog disappears tomorrow afternoon, that is what has happened. Can I ask everyone with time and energy to save as much of the blog as they can, which is what people have kindly done in the past when the blog has been under threat?

I still have more people to name and more parts of the picture to fill in, so if the blog is taken offline, obviously I will be working on resurrecting it again as soon as possible.

People are welcome to e mail me, but I don’t do twitter or have any other websites or online things…

Many thanks/Diolch yn fawr.


Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I’ve been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner – who also became a sociologist – as someone who had experienced ‘considerable success’. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead – he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this ‘successful man’ was notorious – he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist…

22 thoughts on “Notice To Readers: Possible Threat To The Continued Existence Of This Blog”


    Ipswich Hospital, after destroying and not disclosing J W Paulley records, told me he had never been a researcher he was “Leading pioneer of exploration of effects of stress on the progress of organic disease”

    I applied for a war disablement pension in 1999 and it was quickly awarded for incident in army service 1970. The MOD doctor said Unfortunately on leaving the Army this soldier fell into the hands of the clutching NHS madman John Paulley of Ipswich Hospital. Other lads from same unit had war pensions for lung damage too.

    I asked if I could have that opinion for the court but was told it is secret to MOD.

    The fundamental requirement to take a history had never been done. Army service and then living with parents at caretaker flat at county council day clinic. X ray chemicals stored 20 feet from flat bedrooms. Outreach chest clinic for Suffolk Regt ex POWs of Japanese. The town is home to largest paint factory in Europe. Light duties for some weeks in army while on antibiotics for lung infection. Army overruled sick note and went on exercise at Anglesey losing 1.5 stones in a fortnight and coughing blackish sputum.

    I left army fully fit then deteriorated, Paulley quickly opined to the GP (who was on Paulleys GP training scheme) that leaving army under defence cuts had created a “Return home threat” in the mind and a psychosomatic cause of asthma which did not present asthma profile because the attacks had been “Over acted”. So pretend asthma and way to go was continuous steroid !!

    The man was mad as a box of frogs, And dangerous. But he was taken seriously Nurses were warning patients,if they could, to leave Suffolk to get away from Paulley

    I still shudder to think how much trust we put in him.

    What happened when I left Suffolk ? Records did not follow me but Paulley influence did without my knowledge.

    So I think it is reasonable to suspect Paulley was a man to exert secretive influence Even at the university he helped to found,

    That does not amount to a case he helped his son to get a degree But was he a man capable of doing such a thing ?

    We have no evidence about what went on at Buckingham. But we know what went on at Ipswich Hospital they destroyed the evidence without disclosure.

    1. I’ve written so much on the blog so quickly that I had to have a quick read of the post that was the subject of the complaint. Hardly surprising that someone wants to chuck a spanner in the works; Paulley, John Allen, Dafydd, University of Buckingham, the Beloffs, Miranda n Cherie, Thatch, Ioan Bowen Rees and Gwynedd County Council, the Ipswich crowd including Lord Bristol, Dingle Foot and Rab Butler all linked. Backed up by serious money and a ‘think tank’ established solely to promote Reaganite economics/neoliberalism in the UK via Thatch’s Gov’ts.

      No wonder those poor kids were found dead all over north Wales and still no-one batted an eyelid. Every PM and every political party on board with Dafydd.

      All because some members of the British Royal Family had illegal sexual tastes.

      The complaint sent to my hoster was very odd. They complained about four words, asking me to amend, which I have done. But there were other comments in the complaint about how I have no right to be researching the family background of John W. Paulley, although admitting that I hadn’t said anything defamatory. Someone is cross that I mentioned Julian Paulley on the blog. I’ll have another look at him, I might see more clues now that I know the landscape better. He died in 2013. Don’t know how, but that was the year after Tony Francis killed himself and while Cameron and Theresa May were planning the cover-up of the Waterhouse Inquiry which was the Macur Review.

      I have e mailed my hoster to tell them that I have amended the wording of the sentence exactly as asked but of course I haven’t heard anything, it’s the weekend and they won’t be back until Monday!

      1. I kinda instinctively feel sorry for Julian. J W Paulley was more sure of everything than a sane man would be of anything. The pressure on the son to go to private uni Buckingham must have been a force ?


          I think you meant Supt Michael HAMES.

          I was just looking because 1993 the Obscene Publications Squad inquiry when looking at Peter Righton would/should have contacted Suffolk Police re visit to Henniker 1992 AND common law duties and common law offences in coroners law re 43 child care deaths at Beeches Ixworth. (Islington and Hackney care)

          IIRC it was 94 I was awarded legal aid as part of the huge corticosteroid action. I was funded to sue J W Paulley of Ipswich Suffolk and his protegee GP Dr Alan Lower of Stowmarket. As I have written before this action revealed that Lower had never forwarded GP records in 1973 after I moved to Kent and it revealed that Ipswich Hospital had refused to disclose Paulley and Howell records. As you know I won my cause against my solicitor Morgan Cole of Cardiff for failing to bring refusals to disclose to issue. The records must have existed in 94 as it was 98 Ipswich Hospital destroyed the lot without disclosure

          I assume Hames was husband to the CrimeWatch presenter ?

          1. Don Brand, Terry Philpott and Revd Nick Stacey whose KCC colleague was Dr Roger Morgan.

            Like Sunderland instruction from Stacey at KCC not to report abuse to police.

            Suffolk Chief constable Tony Coe who visited Henniker re Righton at a time HM Coroner was raising with the Chief the issues re Beeches uninvestigated child care deaths.

            1993 with Chair of Islington Social Services Cllr Sandy Marks (Of paedo group Fallen Angels) in the letter exchange loop. Supt Hames holds inquiries

            And in spite of common law duties and common law offences in inquest law the 43 child care deaths at Beeches remained covered up ….. Ditto the recent Sarah Morgan QC review

  2. The field of counselling has also been infiltrated by those who do harm knowingly and intentionally. Of course it is an area ripe for abuse as it’s all ‘behind closed doors’ stuff with vulnerable people. And then there’s the confidentiality stuff. Rather as in other so-called caring industries it is particularly scary and indeed shocking when the foxes are in charge of the hen coop. As is so often the case, the complaints procedures are a farce, designed to lure the traumatised ‘patient’ into a false sense of security. It’s a ‘no win’ situation where the victim is set up to endure further abuse, with the added indignity of psycho-babble terms such as ‘counter-tranference’ being banded about. I find that a fairly good rule of thumb in abuse cases is when a person in some kind of position of authority starts a sentence with ‘You’ and then follows it with pejorative terms with no qualifiers or hesitation. So if someone is telling you and other people you are mad, listen up! You are on to something. The accusation can equally be flung back at them. And it’s always good to remember that ‘no’ is a complete sentence even with ‘Top Experts’.

    1. I have noticed. Counselling is even more of a minefield because there is absolutely no standards and no regulation at all; it is bad enough that there is no EFFECTIVE regulation in medicine, but counselling is a complete free for all. The good counsellors of which there are a few are grossly outnumbered.

      My perception is that the infiltration has been deliberate. I watched in north Wales as all escape routes from Dafydd and the gang were sealed off. The charidees were infiltrated, the therapists and counsellors, the Churches and then the alternative communities and things like Buddhists were hit. My view was that everywhere that the gang’s victims might try to seek help was being infiltrated. Or is it your view that I just saw the nature of institutional abuse?

      It was certainly a huge problem, there was nowhere for targets of the gang to go, absolutely nowhere.

      The first letter of complaint that Brown wrote about the distress that Gwynne the lobotomist caused me included an analysis of Gwynne’s misuse of discredited psycho-dynamic theory to conceal his own wrongdoing. God they didn’t like that! More than 30 yrs later I think of what Brown said and it was spot on. No wonder WW III was declared on us.

  3. Sally – did you hear any more with regard to the threat from Dr Winckler? I presume that little stinker died a natural death?

      1. Thanks to the person who recommended this article after reading the comment from Jo and my response:

        Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Vol 14, 2000.
        ‘Complaints Against Psychiatrists: Potential Abuses’
        The presence of complaints procedures is an essential element of clinical management. We discuss diagnostic, psychodynamic and systemic factors that may lead patients and their carers to make ill-founded complaints against their psychiatrists. We argue that explicit attention to these factors is essential for effective understanding and investigation of complaints in the NHS Mental Health

        The article is co-authored by George Ikkos and David Barbenel.
        Ikkos worked at Edgeware Community Hospital and Barbenel was Specialist Registrar, Charing Cross Higher Psychiatric Training Scheme.
        Charing Cross was facilitating the Westminster Paedophile Ring. See previous posts. This article was published the year that the Waterhouse Report was published.

        There can be unfounded complaints made against Top Docs and it is only fair that they should be protected against being unfairly blamed. But the beauty of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that it is used to twist everybody up in knots if serious complaints are made that everybody knows are likely to have substance.

        This particle was published shortly after the NHS finally divested itself of the services of Top Docs William Kerr and Michael Haslam. They were two psychiatrists in Yorkshire who, over years, raped and sexually abused female patients, often in the name of ‘sex therapy’. Their conduct was very widely known and there were many complaints from patients. A Prof in Leeds was threatened with the sack when he stated his intention to pursue the matter and an Angel who complained was demoted. As they reached retirement age, Kerr and Haslam were finally challenged. They retired with pensions intact. One of them went to prison but not for long. Their victims were told that they would not be permitted to have the records about them made by these two sex offenders deleted. So the diagnoses of paranoid schizophrenia/personality disorder and the accounts of those women doing all sorts of extraordinary things to poor old Kerr and Haslman will still be on their records, in the way that my records say that I have been in prison for attacking someone with a knife, that I have tried to stab and strangle people, that I have held an Angel hostage and that I have sexually assaulted a psychiatrist. Oh and I’ve set fire to a hospital. And I am of course, in Dafydd’s own words, criminally insane as well as ‘attractive and seductive’, but according to Springfield Hospital, it was my fault that Dafydd thought I was attractive and seductive. No, I had never appeared before Dafydd in a thong and tassles, one could have been wearing a suit of armour and a triple chastity belt and Dafydd would have still come up with the same diagnosis. Because he was bonkers. But it was all the fault of the patients.

  4. They all sound completely bonkers in the worst possible way – malicious, self-serving and sadistic. And stupid as well. Unfortunately the ‘caring’ industries have often attracted this type of specimen. Their accusations are really all about them and their disordered mentalities . In my opinion people with personality disorders will be attracted to positions of power. And the more disordered they are, the more they will want to hide behind a ‘caring’ facade. Think Saville. Frankly, it’s incredible that anyone gave him the time of day. What a CREEP. I think one of the hallmarks of an antisocial personality disorder is a lack of empathy. Also check out how a person responds to a ‘no’ in a situation where a ‘no’ is perfectly reasonable. ‘No’ is a complete, perfectly formed sentence that a reasonable person can respect.
    It is true that counselling is not well regulated but medicine, social work and special needs schools/detention centers are supposedly regulated – yet we see these terrible abuses of power.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, the narcs/psychos are often in charge of the asylum. Call me old-fashioned but shouldn’t one of the criteria for working in an industry where you have responsibility for other people – particularly those who are vulnerable – be good character, integrity, altruism? Nobody is perfect, of course, but at least have people who are striving to ‘do no harm’.

    1. The psy disciplines themselves accept that they attract people with personal difficulties, but the north Wales lot were in a league of their own.

      Yes, sadistic, that is what became very clear in the end. At first you’d just think ‘am I being really over sensitive here?’ then it would escalate and in the end the picture became clear, they were trying to inflict as much distress as possible. They did it to everyone as well; people who felt that they could cope by themselves just walked away but the seriously distressed patients who hung on thinking ‘surely I will get the help that I need one day’ were just massacred. That lot really were not going to look after anyone.

      Some of the scenes were terrible, distraught patients crying and begging for help having these loonies yelling at them to go on and kill themselves it was their choice or raising the most sensitive subjects in public places; women who were daft enough to do the sex therapy bit had their personal details bandied around. One rape victim was sexually harassed by a crude male patient in ‘group therapy’, other patients were going to ‘group therapy’ to gain info on other people and have a laugh, not that it was real therapy anyway…

      They constantly tried to push patients into abusive situations, I knew what was going on in ‘group therapy’ and I thought ‘God if anyone thinks I’m doing that they’re deluding themselves’; I was seen as a massive problem because ‘you won’t participate’. The same accusation was levelled at other people who wouldn’t leave themselves open to sexual harassment or abuse; I had a bunch of friends at the day centre who I was quite happy to ‘participate’ with, I just wasn’t going to leave myself open to yet more exploitation and abuse.

      The medical records began with offensive comments and ended with barefaced lies and serious unfounded allegations. At first, as usual, I thought that it had just happened to me; no, as I chatted to other people I found out that it was routine. People would glimpse the offensive bits, demand to see their full records and then there would be an all out battle to prevent them gaining access because what had been written just could not be defended.

      The bottom line was that, with the exception of some staff who definitely were much better than the others, the routine way of responding to patients was to treat them like crap. If patients dared make any representation about being treated like crap, no matter how politely, all out war would be declared on them. They really just treated people like shit.

      Denbigh was incredible, the conditions were just so bad, the building is an architectural gem, but the place had been allowed to fall down around the patients and there so obviously had been no money spent on it for decades, there were no facilities apart from a tele and a pack of dominoes, people just sat there drugged out of their heads on largactil, smoking. One of the patients who had just been admitted so he wasn’t yet totally destroyed dared challenge the violent Angel Stephen Rose about the terrible conditions and Rose grunted ‘its not a holiday camp you know’. As the patient said to me ‘I’m not expecting a holiday camp, but this is supposed to be a hospital, the conditions in here are worst than most prisons, we are just people who have become ill, look at what they have done to us’. That was before Rose assaulted me and dragged me down a corridor telling me it was tempting to beat me up. Oh well I wasn’t at Butlins was I.

      As for the lies, they told so many lies that all you could do was laugh. It was a case of ‘how do you know when they are lying?’ ‘you can see their lips move’. They just could not tell the truth. When I first caught Gwynne lying on my medical records and tippexing out what he’d written and rewriting it, they were snapping at me ‘there have been no alterations on those records’, I could see the bloody tippex, I pointed at it! The same when I confronted Dafydd’s henchwoman Janice Davies; Janice’s job was to make serious accusations so that Dafydd could record ‘escalating violent behaviour’ to justify the dungeon or transfer to Risley Remand Centre. I heard her ringing Dafydd and telling him that I had ‘just launched a violent unprovoked attack on and injured a doctor’. I was astounded, I walked into the office and said ‘would you like to tell me when I did that then?’ Janice looked at her feet and said nothing. So I said ‘come on, when did I attack and injure this doctor?’ Within 20 mins Dafydd was there. ‘Ewe have been verrrry aggressive to Sister Janice, she is frightened of ewe’. ‘No I haven’t, she told a pack of bloody lies, when did I injure this doctor?’

      They never produced an injured doctor but my dangerousness was meticulously documented! I know that I would have been one of the disappeared if Brown hadn’t have been writing every day, they knew that he would have asked questions if my letters had stopped. They were a complete law unto themselves, it was a very dangerous situation, I just used to be very aware ‘this lot could kill you and get away with it, they’re nuts and they are utterly dishonest’.

      When they were caught bang to rights they just became even more aggressive and defensive. After every court case collapsed, F and me just had another bucket of shit thrown in our faces. After the case where Jackie Brandt the perjuring social worker got her own name wrong in the witness box and then started crying and admitted that she’d lied, Tony Francis snapped at us ‘that case was just a laugh to you two wasn’t it’ so we said well considering that Brandt got her own name wrong, yes. Then after we were acquitted when they tried to get both of us jailed in 1996, F was fuming, he steamed into the Hergest and said ‘right we’ve had the truth, not guilty, why were we put through all that?’ and we were just met with the staff shouting at us and shrieking ‘no you will not get an apology’. They had lied and lied, no remorse at all.

      They even did the same to a patient who had been wrongly arrested by them, held in Liverpool jail no less and then released! Tony Francis shouted that ‘if you ever do that to me again you will not get treatment anywhere ever’. Do what exactly??? Go to prison on the lies of the Hergest Unit, have to be released and make them all look crazy???

      The thing that I find most galling isn’t so much them, they were a gang of sex offenders no more, no less, it is that everyone knew what they were doing, everyone. There was so much evidence from so many people…

      It’s why I feel sick when I see the Senedd drivelling on about Caring and Excellence. They knew how fucking brutal that lot were and they knew about the suicide rate…

      They got so used to brazening it out that when they met normal people they really gave themselves away. When I heard that they sent Merfyn the VC my medical notes I nearly died, I thought ‘Christ what if he believes the lying bastards?’ and I confided in a friend, who just screamed with laughter. He was saying ‘they did WHAT?? ‘And then he said well ‘Merfyn’s never going to go to Ysbyty Gwynedd is he, imagine if he has trouble with his testicles, his medical notes could be sent all over the place’. And it became a real joke, it was famous, those nutters had sent my medical records to the VC! And when I found out that Bluglass had stated that I’d end up in a ward for the criminally insane, people were rolling around the office laughing, shouting ‘criminally insane’ down the corridor as I came into work in the morning, it was farcical.

      I don’t think that they had any inkling at all re how ridiculous they were. Martin Jones the CEO of the Trust just sent me a furious letter about staff at Bangor University ridiculing the Trust and it was all because of my ‘extreme duplicity’ no less!

  5. Well the lunatics clearly took charge of the asylum. I did a counselling course at one stage where several of the tutors had graduated from a similar school of sadism. Their backgrounds were interesting – remand centres and social work…… see how they all make cosy bedfellows? There was a fascinating blog started up by a dysgruntled ex-psychotherapy student which I contributed to at the time. There were a great many disgruntled and the stories were quite similar.

    The tutors on the course were utterly devoid of any empathy or indeed common sense. Each session would be like a battleground as they pitted students against each other in the type of ‘group therapy’ you describe. I think one of the criteria for getting onto the course must have been naivety with too much deference towards authority figures. In fact, one of the interview questions was designed to establish how trusting you were of authority figures. And of course you were encouraged to write and talk at length about the personal issues that had lead you in that direction. Students naively poured their hearts out hoping that, at last, they will receive the understanding and compassion they had quite probably been denied growing up. In safe hands this could have been a healing learning environment but those were not safe hands. Rather than helping others heal, the lunatics running the show caused more harm as they had no capacity for empathy, in my opinion. Rather as you are describing I think they got a perverse kick from stirring up the hornet’s nest and causing mayhem. I can only assume it is because they are unable or unwilling to confront their own demons and continue to play out the deeply dysfunctional family dynamics they grew up in. This was certainly what I saw on that course. On the occasions I tried to confront one or other of the tutors over their behaviour, they would very skilfully divert attention in the wrong direction with some cod acting about ‘concern’ for a student thrown in as a smoke screen. They really were nasty pieces of work and I suspect were incapable of genuine warm interaction with other people. But they would fake it on occasion.

    They tried to use a trivial issue at the start of the course to scapegoat me and so set up discord within the group. Really, it was utterly pathetic that they felt they had to play those stupid little games and also quite sad that we as students allowed th to do this.

    I stuck with the nonsense for a year and then made my escape. One of the tutors sent back work I had done to my home address failing me (I noticed I consistently got lower marks than the other students despite very careful and well-researched work) and with the bitchiest critique full of personal attacks. He had to have the last word and he had to attack my character even though he knew full well who the little sh** was.
    I don’t think I’ve ever met a more disturbed, unpleasant person and the other tutor wasn’t much better. Sadly, rather like the situations you are describing, many of the students are so wounded and vulnerable that they cling onto the wreckage that is purporting to be ‘training’ like a life raft, blind as to how they are being used as pawns in a sick system. I think a sort of Stockholm Syndrome kicks in – the more the vulnerable try to get their needs met, the more badly they are treated. These students then go on to become counsellors who know nothing but a self-perpetuating system of toxicity.

    The level of abuse and corruption you are describing in children’s homes is profoundly shocking though. These really are some of the most vulnerable members of society and to allow them to be exploited in this way is disgraceful.

    Surely time for a robust overhaul of the whole system and the need to bring ethics into the equation? I’ve always said that the most important quality for someone going into one of the caring industries is good character and integrity. But what hope is there if the sadists in charge are looking for those who won’t challenge them and who will perpetrate a sick system?

    1. I seem to have met the same people that you have!

      Your analysis is spot on. Yes, the group work and the role play and the class discussion is for one purpose: identify potential whistleblowers, find out what they know and make damn sure that they are removed from the system. That happened on social work courses in north Wales and it was going on elsewhere too.

      Now I know why Coleg Menai and the worst predators at Bangor University started begging Empowered Service Users to Register For A Course with them in the late 1990s onwards: most of the first hand witnesses to Dafydd et al had died by then, but their friends who had heard the tales were still alive. We need to know who has info! Ronnie Waterhouse will be publishing the final cover-up soon and we need to have it all sewn up…

      When people have survived the mental health system, so many have a feeling of ‘God I could have done so much better’ and off they charge to train as a social worker or Angel or counsellor. Every capable one will be identified and picked off. The system is just so bad that they are not allowed to even try and effect change.

      I too used to believe that what is needed was the raising of standards, better education and training and the introduction of ethics, REAL ethics. Sadly I believe the system is now so rotten it can’t be salvaged that way. Particularly because so much medical and social policy research has been fabricated. There is no knowledge base on which to build, people are taught nonsense from the first day of their courses.

      Something is needed for people who are too distressed to cope so the best option is to put social support in for them, real social support: secure, decent housing, a decent level of benefits on which to live, no-one breathing down their neck with the Assessments And Reviews until they are well back on their feet again. For people who are so ill that they cannot get up out of bed, feed themselves etc, there has to be good social care, not a stressed out carer dropping in for 30 mins three times a day. Then the whole knowledge base has to be rebuilt from scratch.

      The remit has to be removed from psychiatrists and social workers, they cannot be left to do this, there are not enough honest ones in the system to run it. I don’t think we should be starry-eyed about recovery from serious illness, it doesn’t automatically happen in a Community At One With Nature By Art Therapy and Meditation alone, but it will never happen when patients are locked in wards for months on end with no access to fresh air, loaded up with anti-psychotics at overdose levels , left to smoke in front of the TV and ‘looked after’ by sadistic nutters…

  6. Jo how true your observations are. So many people are attempting ‘counselling’ courses – its all the rage – quite bizarrely attracting many vulnerable individuals who have to ‘counsel’ each other in the classroom. 99% of the students appear to have had major trauma – mental or physical – is it becoming a ‘quick fix’ rather than proper professional treatments which may be too costly for the authorities. Get everyone in a room and talk amongst yourselves for a bit – its a lot cheaper!!!

  7. Quite so. Ironically, I only entered counselling after having been left traumatised by a sadistic tutor on a professional training course! Oh the irony. Yes – I think the counselling tutors had a nice ‘heads up’ with regard to the trauma and decided to try to polish me off in full view of the equally traumatised other students. Probably partly as a warning shot: this is what happens if you blow the whistle. The systems are indeed rotten to the core and have been infiltrated by those with malevolent natures due in part to their own unresolved issues (or the fact that they are just plain nasty!) It’s so true that the good people are picked off – I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s done so the system won’t change and it happens in all sorts of institutions, starting with the institution of the (dysfunctional?) family.

    1. Jo,
      Do you have any thoughts on why reasonably competent adults with ‘issues’ do succumb to kicking other people, including students? Brown and me used to discuss this and not ever understand WHY they wanted to have a go at students or more junior people, because neither of us ever felt the need to do that. I always reverted to ‘well I suppose if they feel really bloody awful’ and Brown would say ‘well I often feel really bloody awful but I have a policy not to spread it around’.

      The barking mad mental health services apart, I watched so many senior academics rip students or juniors apart and I just used to wonder ‘what is wrong with you that you have to do that??’

      Brown takes the stiff upper lip view that one controls oneself and does not have to crap on other people and that is that, no excuses. I am always thinking ‘are they just taking advantage??? Or is there something so terribly wrong with them that they really cannot stop doing this?’

      1. I think it reverts to your very early life. If you were lucky enough to have one or even two parents or other caretakers revolving around you in the crucial early stages of life – one to seven years old – then I think you can develop a strong self of self and security.

        If you didn’t have this…it’s a lot more complicated. You project your unresolved issues onto other people.

          1. No irony meant! I think some people enjoy inflicting pain on other people. I don’t know why – presumably because they lack empathy. Maybe it’s something to do with their very early years and a lack of ‘attunement’ from their caregivers but then not everyone reacts like this. Maybe some people are just born that way. One could then go round in circles debating ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’.

            I was only speculating on why the tutors on the counselling training course I did were so spectacularly unpleasant and I do suspect they had brutal early years. But then quite a few of the students on the course had had too, and they were kind, caring and not like that at all.

            I still maintain that a lot of how someone behaves will have its roots in early life experiences because by the age of around 7 years or so the personality/character is formed, or so it is claimed. This makes sense to me and from my own experiences this has been the case. I’ve had school reunions where it is astonishing how, 40 or so years later, that person is in essence so similar to how they were aged eight or so.

            In terms of being ‘ripped apart’ by senior academics etc, I think a fair number of people in jobs like that are too full of a sense of their own self-importance. They might have a rigid mind-set with regards to getting high grades, for instance, being the only criteria of success and look down on those whose skills might lie in other areas. I’ve got a ‘senior academic’ in my wider family. While she probably has far more influence than she should have over people getting into her ‘top university’ in reality she’s quite dull, rather boring and quite insecure. If you take her away from her fancy job title and ‘top university’ she doesn’t really have many qualities that one would admire.

            I don’t think I’ve really answered your question and in fact I don’t really know the answer! Just theories based on my limited knowledge of the research in the area and – more – on my own personal experiences and observations.

  8. The reason why I questioned your earlier comment is that there is a mountain of this sort of theory taught to everyone who trains in the people professions, but on the basis of bugger all evidence. I too have noticed how some people do like to inflict pain on other people and the prevailing wisdom is ‘ooh they must have been damaged at a young age’. Well some will have been but I’ve known people who went through a living hell when young – I haven’t discussed them on the blog because its confidential and they are all highly sceptical of the therapy bit – who take the view ‘I will never ever treat anyone else like that’ and they don’t. Likewise boys who have grown up with violent fathers; I know of boys who concluded ‘I will never be like that to my wife and kids’ and indeed they haven’t been.

    The problem with subscribing to the theory that a kid’s character is formed by the age of seven is that is projects a dreadfully bleak outlook onto children who have had difficult early years. Received wisdom from every people professional that one meets: ooh the damage has been done… It is the route to throwing people in the dustbin because well they’re never going to change are they…

    I cheered up this morning though when I read an article by a neuroscientist who challenged the bollocks that has been driving me nuts for years: the myth of female and male brains. I know that Cordelia Fine has published work pointing out how extraordinary it is that crass gender stereotypes took hold in neuroscience of all disciplines on the basis of so little evidence, but there’s a Prof at Aston who is doing the same now. I’d love to read their work, I’m snowed under with the blog at the moment but I want to make a bit of time to gen up on these challenges to simplistic rubbish in neuroscience.

    It is frightening that so much of the basis of so many disciplines is based on such weak foundations. Everyone had to rewrite botanical classification with the advent of molecular biology because DNA evidence demonstrated that the previous classifications were all hopelessly wrong, all those huge Latin tomes that we read as undergrads have been consigned to the scrapheap now, but its not just botany that was built on sand.

    The received wisdom in psychotherapy is terrifying. I have read a lot of it, I accept that it is fascinating, as are the psychoanalytic classics, but they don’t map onto real human beings very often and the response of the psy professions in the face of that is to tell the patient that they are being dishonest or, the worst scenarios that I have heard, that the patient is ‘untherapisable’. Just the reaction of abusive professionals who are seriously limited themselves…

    I have been in and witnessed many a situation where it was a case of ‘Christ you have got this so badly wrong’ but it was very obvious that the thinking of the therapist was set in concrete and it wasn’t going to shift. The simplistic rubbish that takes no account of human difference is now trickling down to wider society in the guise of ‘mental health first aid’, ‘personal education’ in schools – schools have now been told to ‘do’ FGM, most teachers know bugger all about it, so it’ll be like biology Chinese whispers with a dose of racial stereotyping; it’ll be damn hard being a Somali girl in a UK school now, their genitalia will be subject to endless speculation, I mean has anyone actually thought this through???? Can’t they remember what it’s like being 13???… It was bad enough for the only Jewish boy that there was in our school, constant ‘ooh he hee have you been circumcised??’. FGM on a very personal level is not really something that should be encouraged as a topic of discussion among kids at an age when so many find matters sexuality, sexual development etc so embarrassing and distressing. It won’t be handled at all well by most schools and the cynic in me is tempted to ask whether they’ll commission Rolf Harris to make the FGM awareness videos a la Rolf’s Safeguarding efforts of 1985…

    The bandying around of cod therapeutic notions is leading to the pathologising of anyone who doesn’t fit the stereotype: men who ‘bottle it up’ for example. I have witnessed men being treated so hamfistedly by therapists that I think the best survival strategy was for them to bottle it up. It’s good to talk! Who says??? These prevailing ideas that have saturated so many tropes are causing as much havoc as the uniformly expected stiff upper lip did two generations ago…

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