March 16, 2015

UKCP to “develop its position” on transgender conversion therapy

Following yesterdays blog post about so-called “conversion therapy” which aims to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the UK Council for Psychotherapy have alerted me to a statement on the issue. The UKCP is already a co-signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding which condemns therapies to turn gay people straight as unethical, ineffective and harmful. However, the Memorandum currently makes no mention of similar therapies that aim to convert transgender people back to their birth gender.

I’m happy to hear that the UKCP are looking to expand the memorandum to also include trans conversion therapy.

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March 15, 2015

It’s right to condemn gay conversion therapy, but we need to do the same for trans conversion “therapy”.

A number of key bodies in mental health recently signed up to a memorandum of understanding on so-called conversion or reparative therapies, which aim to turn gay people straight. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK Council for Psychotherapy, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Department of Health all (rightly, in my view) condemned such “therapy” as unethical and harmful. They do nothing to “convert” people who don’t need converting, and only serve to deepen human misery and potentially drive people to suicide.

I fully support this memorandum, but it needs to go further. It should be expanded to also condemn therapies aimed at converting transgender people back to their birth gender.

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March 9, 2015

On the Eurovision Song Contest and Disability

I’m sure some of my regular blog readers are rolling their eyes and skimming past whenever I go off-topic to talk about the Eurovision. It’s something that outside of May tends to be feel (in the UK anyway) like a bit of a niche interest. Which is odd given that it’s the biggest musical event in the world. Personally I enjoy following it because of the way an ostensibly-silly show has a habit of highlighting all kinds of interesting topics.

Last year’s contest highlighted the issue of gender identity, with bearded drag act Conchita Wurst taking the prize. This year, 3 of the acts have physical or intellectual disabilities. This leaves me wondering whether 2015 will do for disability what 2014 did for gender.

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March 8, 2015

TV Review: #BeingBipolar

I just had a chance to catch up on 4OD today with the Channel 4 documentary Being Bipolar. I wasn’t watching it when it was first screened on Channel 4 earlier this week, but it’s sparked off quite a few reactions on social media, most of them negative. Charlotte Walker and Laurie Hastie have both written negative reviews of the show on the Mind blog. Meanwhile Henrietta Ross has given a more mixed review at Madness Matters. Given these responses, I decided to see for myself and watch the show.

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February 15, 2015

The punk band with learning disabilities competing to represent #Finland at the #Eurovision

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been going a bit off-topic recently on this blog, talking about my guilty-pleasure Eurovision hobby. As it happens, there’s a development which neatly juxtaposes this with my professional interest in health and social care.

In a fortnight’s time, Finland will pick their Eurovision entry. In the running is a punk band called Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (which means Pertti Kurikan’s Name Day). They all either have Down’s Syndrome or are on the autistic spectrum.

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February 11, 2015

Praise the Lordi! Further Adventures of My #Eurovision Guilty Pleasure

It’s time for you all to roll your eyes again as I present a follow-up to my previous post about the Eurovision Song Contest. I have no doubt that in recent weeks my Twitter followers have been scrambling for the mute button as I livetweeted various national selections around Europe.

Time to reflect a little on what’s been learned so far. Continue reading

February 10, 2015

NHS psychotherapy services hit by austerity

In sad but unsurprising news, a report by the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the British Psychoanalytic Council shows that psychotherapy, and in particular long-term psychotherapy, is getting more and more difficult to access on the NHS. They surveyed 2000 psychotherapists.

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January 31, 2015

My not-so-secret Eurovision guilty pleasure

Over the past couple of months some of you may have had a shock. Tuning into my Twitter account expecting some highbrow insights on psychotherapy, or politics, or mental health….and instead discovering I was livetweeting the Albanian or Maltese selections for the Eurovision Song Contest.

What can I say? Everybody needs a guilty pleasure.

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January 29, 2015

High Court upgrades McCarron case to a striking-off

In June 2014 I was alarmed to hear that the Health and Care Professions Council had declined to strike off a clinical psychologist who had committed serious sexual misconduct with someone who had recently been in therapy with him. Despite John McCarron not even turning up to the hearing, he was issued with a one-year suspension instead.

The Professional Standards Authority subsequently appealed the decision to the High Court. Today I’m pleased to hear that the High Court has upheld the appeal (see page 6) and ordered that McCarron be struck off. Continue reading

January 25, 2015

#GreenSurge and the “UKIP of the Left”

Back in November I blogged about my increasing reluctance to hold my nose and vote Labour in May. A couple of weeks I made my decision and signed up for the Green Party, becoming one of the Green Surge that we’re all talking so much about. Then this morning I saw the party leader, Natalie Bennett, fielding questions from Andrew Neil on BBC Sunday Politics.

How did she hold up against Neil’s probing? Frankly, risibly.

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