Sunday, 25 June 2017

"Would you like to join me?": Dr Peter J Gordon, Martyrs Monument 21Aug17

"Would you like to join me?" on Hole Ousia


This is an invitation to join me on a peaceful protest to be held on Monday 21st August 2017 at the Martyrs Monument, Calton Hill Burial Ground, Edinburgh.


It is a protest for anybody who has had difficulty communicating with high public office in Scotland. For some this may have been with the Scottish Government – but it need not relate to any particular institution.

This protest is for anybody who has felt that those in a genuine position of power may have acted unfairly.

Professor Walter Humes, writing in Scottish Review, 21st September 2015:

“For some time I have been copied into email exchanges concerning how complaints against public bodies are dealt with. I have no personal stake in any of the specific sources of concern (which include patient care in the NHS and responses by Police Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to requests for formal investigations). I do, however, have a long-standing interest in issues of public accountability and am familiar with the various techniques used by bureaucratic organisations to avoid responsibility when things go wrong: these include silence, delay, evasion, buck-passing and attempts to discredit complainants.”


The First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I intend that we will be an open and accessible Government” 26 November 2014

Prof Walter Humes, 21 September 2015:

“Those who hold high office in public bodies are very adept at defending their own interests. They may claim to support openness and transparency but those principles are not always translated into practice. Bureaucratic Scotland often falls short of the democratic ideals which are said to underpin civic life”


This film by me, “The Friends of Liberty“, explains why the Martrys Monument has been chosen for this protest. The location is next to St Andrew’s House, the seat of the Scottish Government. The Martyrs Monument rises higher and has a wider view than St Andrew’s House. The Martyrs Monument was raised through public donations.

The Friends of Liberty from omphalos on Vimeo.

WHY the 21st of AUGUST ?:

Reason 1: The foundation stone of the Martyrs’ Monument was laid on this very day, 1844.

Reason 2: on the 21st August 2017 there will be a full solar eclipse (sometime just before 8pm) revealing the power of one orb over another and our shared need for light.


Here is my experience with Scottish Government. I have been, and continue to be, an active advocate for ethical considerations in all aspects of healthcare in NHS Scotland. I am proud of what I have done and of who I am.
So if you have your own story please come along and share it. Together we can make a difference. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

#HunterWatson Petition PE01667: Review of mental health and incapacity legislation @ScotParl

PE01667: Review of mental health and incapacity legislation

Petitioner: W Hunter Watson

Closing Date for Online Petition: 03 August 2017 

"Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to conduct a wide review Scottish mental health and incapacity legislation and, when doing so, to take due account of recent developments in international human rights law."

Background Info

"In 1997 I began writing to my MP in an attempt to persuade Parliament to legislate to ensure that antipsychotic drugs were not concealed in the food or drink of elderly care home residents. After the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, I began writing to MSPs in an attempt to achieve the same aim. When it became apparent that this approach was not going to be successful I submitted a petition to the Public Petitions Committee. This petition, number PE867:

generated great media interest because it had not been generally realised that drugs were being concealed in the food or drink of some care home residents: I was interviewed on both radio and television and the story was covered in the UK press. Regrettably, this petition was unsuccessful. It was assumed that my concerns would be addressed by revising the Code of Practice for the Adults with Incapacity Act. Basically, the revision implied that covert medication is permissible provided that it is done in accordance with the provisions of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) 2000 Act (the AWI Act). However, given developments in the field of human rights since the passage of that Act, it would seem to be now appropriate to review it.

In 2008 I was made aware of one particular case which made it clear that the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) was not working as well as the Scottish Parliament had expected. Basically, it suffers from the same flaw as does Part 5 of the AWI Act. In each case, too much power is given to health professionals who, like the rest of us, are not infallible. Nor do they always adhere to the laudable principles which are supposed to underpin both the AWI and the 2003 Act. As a consequence, many of the people who are treated under the provisions of those Acts have their human rights violated. Because of my concerns about the 2003 Act, and the absolute refusal of the Scottish Government to act to address those, I submitted petition PE01494 which called for the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to amend the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 to ensure that it is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Although I and the person who seconded my petition were both permitted to address the Public Petitions Committee and although that Committee gave various bodies and individuals an opportunity to submit evidence, the Committee agreed to close my petition without discussing it. I was informed that it agreed to do this as the consequence of an instruction from a senior official or civil servant.

The Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 reflected a limited review of the 2003 Act that was based upon the 2009 McManus Report and which was concerned largely with administrative rather than with human rights issues. In spite of calls from the General Assembly, from the Labour Party's health spokesperson and others, the Scottish Government declined to widen the scope of that legislation. It is noteworthy that the Scottish Government chose not to give due consideration to the submission made by the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee: 

In that submission, it is stated that the relevant law includes the "Scotland Act 1998 which requires that all legislation of the Scottish Parliament must be compatible with ECHR rights. It also requires that Scottish Ministers must observe and implement the UK's other international obligations, which includes obligations under international human rights treaties the UK has ratified. There are several international human rights treaties that have application to mental health and mental disorder. This submission focusses on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities". (My italics).

The Scottish Government should examine the possibility that if Scottish mental health and incapacity legislation is not amended to take due account of those judgments of the European Court of Human Rights to which I make reference in my paper entitled "Important Court Judgments 2" then it will not be ECHR compatible as is required by the Scotland Act.

My paper also contains relevant judgments of domestic courts. These have established case-law which makes clear that an adult with capacity can only be treated with that adult's informed consent and that there must be a presumption of capacity. Among the cases to which reference is made is Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board, 2015. Comments on this case appeared in the May 2017 edition of the BMJ. Among those comments is the following: "The doctor might think that disclosure of certain information could lead the patient to a decision that is not in their best interests, as was true in the Montgomery case. But the ethical and legal position is clear: doctors must not withhold information simply because they disagree with the decision the patient is likely to make if given the information".

The need to provide full information about risks and to not assume that there is a complete lack of decision-making capacity is of particular importance when a doctor prescribes an antipsychotic drug for a person with dementia. The administration of an antipsychotic drug to such a person, especially if carried out for a significant period, increases the risk that that person will die prematurely or have a stroke.

In a 2009 report by Professor Sube Banerjee about the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia it was stated "The use of these drugs in those with dementia has substantial clinical risk attached, including a conservative estimate of 1,800 extra deaths and 820 extra serious adverse events such as stroke per year". (Numbers presumably referred to England and Wales.)

In a 2014 report prepared by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) it was noted that of the 336 dementia patients in the 52 NHS units surveyed 166 patients (49%) were being given antipsychotic medication. The MWC commented "While this might be helpful in relieving symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, agitation or aggression there are known risks for people with dementia. All antipsychotic medications increase the risk of stroke or death, many can impair mobility and increase the risk of falls".

In June 2010 there was published Scotland's National Dementia Strategy. In section 97 of the strategy it is stated "This strategy is making a commitment to a reduction in the level of prescription (of psychoactive medication) during 2011 and a further reduction for future years".

Regrettably the production of strategies is totally ineffective if they can be ignored with impunity: the document entitled "Medicines used in Mental Health" reveals that for the period 2009/10 to 2015/16 all NHS Boards showed an increased prescribing of antipsychotic drugs. Although the data does not indicate whether this increased prescribing applied to those with dementia, there can be no assumption that it did not.

In May 2017 there was published a report entitled "Scotland's Mental Health and Capacity Law: the Case for Reform". It was produced jointly by the Centre for Mental Health & Capacity Law and the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. This report notes that," ... in order to ensure compliance with developing international human rights standards ... there is a need to revisit and, where necessary reframe, our mental health and capacity law". The report draws attention to the possibility of small changes being made to the existing legislation prior to the production of a completely new and unified Act.

Account should also be taken of the UK submission to the committee which monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) within those countries which have ratified and hence which agreed to comply with that international human rights treaty.  Among the issues raised are the use of chemical restraint and the abuse of people in residential care.

If legislation were enacted which took full account of recent relevant developments in the field of human rights then it is likely it would follow that:

  • doctors could no longer prescribe that unwanted drugs be concealed in the food or drink of care home residents;
  • care home residents could no longer be given potentially harmful drugs as chemical restraint;
  • mental health patients could no longer be held down and injected with psychiatric drugs against their will; nor could they continue to be given ECT even though they resist or object to that treatment.
  • non-consensual treatment would be kept to an absolute minimum."

Monday, 19 June 2017

toxic supervision

yesterday Teviot Place Edinburgh
Last night on twitter I was reflecting on the toxic nature of the PhD supervision at the University of Edinburgh Clinical Psychology department which I experienced over 9 months from September 2016.  It caused me physical health issues, gut problems, having to get blood tests and stool samples examined via my GP, and having to cancel a London trip, taking part in the Windhorse and Basic Attendance Workshop on 3 May.  I'd already bought the plane tickets so it cost me financially.

At the final supervision meeting on 2 May 2017, I felt ganged up on, undermined and bullied, my research proposal on evidencing Safe haven crisis Houses was questioned and criticised, and I was made to feel "less than".  This was particularly cruel because I'm a lone "worker", unpaid Carer, campaigner, writer, activist, with no team to back me up.  The only person who supported my academic quest from the offset was Prof Andrew Gumley, supplying a positive PhD reference and offering formal mentorship.

After the supervision relationship broke down I found out from a Clinical Psychologist, formerly employed on the DClinPsy programme at Edinburgh, that 8 others had been bullied in the department, including himself, trainees and other staff, some of whom resigned because of it.  This person had raised a formal complaint with the university but got no justice and had to leave because of it.  When I heard about the bullying culture I raised concerns with Judy Thomson, Director of Training for Psychology Services NHS Education for Scotland.  NES fund the DClinPsy training at both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities.

Ms Thomson eventually responded saying: 

"I have consulted internally about the best way to respond due to the seriousness of the issues raised. We will not be investigating this as a formal complaint as the concerns relate to a service provided by the University of Edinburgh and by named employees of that organisation. Although NES has an interest in the quality of the learning environment, the primary governance responsibility rests with the University.  Therefore we are proposing that we pass the information you have provided to the University, requesting that they deal with the points that you have raised and advise us of the outcome – as well as liaising with you directly.  Please can you confirm that you are happy for your email of 23 May to be passed on to the University of Edinburgh and we will progress with this action?"

At first I wasn't keen to be taking forward another complaint, due to the remembered stress of having had to complain about human rights abuses in Stratheden IPCU, Fife, February 2012.  Which resulted in an apology from NHS Fife after my complaint was upheld by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. However I talked it over with my son and decided to proceed with the complaint, supported by NES.  This process is now ongoing.  [The University of Edinburgh's Complaints Procedure.]

I am very sad that my PhD hopes have been dashed, it's disheartening and disempowering, especially since I'm constrained financially, as an unwaged Carer, on a basic State Pension, no Carers Allowance.  At the November 2016 meeting with the Edinburgh University Clinical Psychology Professor I'd suggested that he could organise for me to undertake a few hours lecturing per week, enabling me to self fund the PhD.  However he wasn't willing or able to do this, although Ms Thomson thought this was viable when we met on 20 April 2017, prior to my PhD being withdrawn.

I feel bruised and battered after this toxic supervision experience.  It's very unfair, considering my situation and all the work I've done since 2008, voluntarily, to promote safer mental health services in Scotland, and Fife in particular.  Speaking out about human rights abuses and advocating for others who have been bullied for speaking out.  I deserve respect and recognition for standing up for, and with, others, at a cost to myself.



PhD Clinical Psychology University of Edinburgh - Withdrawal of Offer 9May17

4 May 2017: "no way we can guarantee success": the breakdown of supervision; "slumbering time bomb"


Cycling as therapy, yesterday on train to Edinburgh then cycling down Leith Walk, out to Portobello then round by Duddingston and down to the Meadows:

bike parked Teviot Place Edinburgh yesterday

Saturday, 17 June 2017

attachment: detachment

Dianthus back garden
Doing housework tasks & garden tidy-up today, reflecting on mental health involvement.  Thinking of attachment/detachment.  The latter I've found to be prevalent within some areas of Clinical Psychology (CP), ironically.  Much is preached about Attachment Theory yet what I've witnessed is detachment in practice by some, whether underpinned by Mindfulness or a reaction to it.  Don't know.

Lavender back garden
However I've seen some prime examples of academic and practice-based "detachment" in CP "professionals".  They seem to switch off in regard to the pain expressed by people who have been abused in psychiatric settings.  A clinical gaze [blog post from 2015] resulting in blank expressions, determined actions to make a patient or person conform to their "therapy".  I've noticed this since first engaging with a CP in Stratheden Hospital, Fife, and it has continued to be the case in my experience.  

Fortunately not all are like this or it would feel hopeless in regards to shifting an abusive paradigm.  I've seen in other CPs a reflection of my pain, an understanding and a solidarity.  Which gives me hope and confidence that positive change will happen despite those who have retreated into detachment, for whatever reason.

Friday, 2 June 2017

FOI Request ESTEEM Early Intervention #Psychosis Service @NHSGGC

On 28 May 2017 I sent this FOI Request to Ivano Mazzoncini, Team Leader, ESTEEM Early Intervention for Psychosis Service, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde:

"Dear Mr Mazzoncini

This is an FOI Request about the ESTEEM project, NHS GGC.  Please can you forward to the appropriate person in your health board area.  Thank you.

Here are the questions I have, so far:

Can you please send me all the information that is available about the ESTEEM Project in the last 5 years, including annual reports with details of finance (amount awarded each year, spent etc), budgeting, cost per patient/service user, medications used, types of psychological therapy given, testimonies of service users/patients, and any other information which will help me to be informed about ESTEEM.

I would like to know how referrals to ESTEEM are made, who makes them, can people self-refer?  How long does it take for referrals to be acted upon?  Have you got service user/patient/carer feedback about your service?  I'd like details from the last 5 years, preferably in the person's own words if possible.

I would like to know the "make-up" of the ESTEEM team eg psychiatrist, psychologist etc.  Who is the first port of call when a referral is made?  What is the assessment process for a person/patient?  

I would like statistical reports of the ESTEEM service from its beginning until now, showing numbers of people referred, worked with, avoiding psychiatric inpatient treatment etc.  To understand the cost-effectiveness of ESTEEM compared to inpatient treatment which I know will be in the ballpark of £3000/person/week (which is approximate figures for NHS Tayside and NHS Fife psychiatric inpatient treatment).

Does ESTEEM support coercive drug treatment?  Eg depot injections or acuphase clopixol.  Does ESTEEM offer only psychological therapies to patients/service users who express a wish for this?  Or are medications/antipsychotics the first port of call when a person is psychotic?

I am very interested in the availability of choices for people who are referred to ESTEEM.  Is there CBT for psychosis on offer?  I would like any reports on the effectiveness of CBTp for ESTEEM clients/service users.

Other questions:
  • are there any independent assessments of ESTEEM?  monitoring and evaluations done by other NHS GGC departments or external agencies
  • have there been any critical incidents to do with ESTEEM?  eg suicides, accidents, failures in care
  • how long has ESTEEM been ongoing?  how was ESTEEM set up?  has the management and organisation of ESTEEM changed since its early days?  if so, how?
  • how does ESTEEM advertise its service?  [I ask this because it's difficult to find anything about it and when I've contacted you for information you haven't responded]
  • what are the aims and objectives of ESTEEM? 
  • how do you promote ESTEEM beyond your health board area?  share good practice and mentor other mental health professionals; I'm interested in what you're doing to encourage other Scottish health boards to practice EIP.

I look forward to receiving a response to my FOI Request about the ESTEEM project.  So as to be more information about this early intervention psychosis initiative in the North area of Glasgow.

Regards, Chrys"


7 April 2016: The Glasgow ESTEEM early intervention service #Psychosis #Recovery

“I intend that we will be an open and accessible Government” #NicolaSturgeon 26Nov14

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 26th November 2014: on


"I am planning to arrange a ‘demonstration’ at the Martyrs monument, Edinburgh.

My idea is to recreate a gathering around the Martyrs Monument on Calton Hill which stands next to, but taller than, St Andrew’s House (the seat of power). I will prepare invites for this gathering to be held on Monday 21st August 2017.

The foundation stone of the Martyrs Monument was laid by Hume on 21 August 1844, with 3,000 people gathered for the occasion. This year, on the anniversary of this, a total solar eclipse will take place

This shared backdrop has been described by Prof Walter Hume in the Scottish Review, 21st September 2015:

“For some time I have been copied into email exchanges concerning how complaints against public bodies are dealt with. I have no personal stake in any of the specific sources of concern (which include patient care in the NHS and responses by Police Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to requests for formal investigations). I do, however, have a long-standing interest in issues of public accountability and am familiar with the various techniques used by bureaucratic organisations to avoid responsibility when things go wrong: these include silence, delay, evasion, buck-passing and attempts to discredit complainants.”

Prof Humes went on to say:

“Those who hold high office in public bodies are very adept at defending their own interests. They may claim to support openness and transparency but those principles are not always translated into practice. Bureaucratic Scotland often falls short of the democratic ideals which are said to underpin civic life”

Ever aye

Peter, Little Sparta

Dr Peter J Gordon 

1 June 2017"

The Friends of Liberty from omphalos on Vimeo.

Monday, 29 May 2017


Yesterday I had to give up the PhD quest due to lack of funding.  I had to face up to the fact that I couldn't afford to self-fund a doctorate so as to research Safe Haven Crisis House alternatives to psychiatric inpatient treatment.  It was a sad day, hopes dashed, although I tried to stay positive.

This has come about because of the negative experience of supervision at the University of Edinburgh Clinical Psychology department.  I felt undermined by their lack of faith in my abilities and in funding being secured.  It caused me physical health issues and I couldn't let it continue.  After the supervision relationship broke down and no other supervisors could be found I heard that there was a bullying culture in the department.

I still intend to research Safe Haven Crisis House alternatives in the UK and abroad.  I don't know how this can be achieved as it seems impossible without the backing of an organisation.  Therefore I'm feeling disempowered, isolated, bruised and battered.  It's painful.  But I will survive.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

FOI Request Early Psychosis Support Service CAMHS NHS Lothian

Yesterday I sent this FOI Request to Richard Mutch, NHS Lothian, about the Early Psychosis Support Service (EPSS):

"Dear Mr Mutch

This is an FOI Request about the CAMHS Early Psychosis Support Service.

[I am copying in Prof Matthias Schwanner and Dr Helen Griffiths, both Consultant Clinical Psychologists at EPSS, for their information]

I would like the most recent copy of the annual report for EPSS and any other relevant published details about outcomes, treatments, statistics, medications used, psychological therapies given, demographics, philosophy and anything else which would help me understand how the EPSS works.  Their recovery focus, outlook in terms of young people who access the service.  Whether any young people are given therapies without psychiatric medication.  What position the CPs hold within the service and how they were chosen.

I would like to know the funding per year to run EPSS, including budgeting details, money spent on medications/drugs, cost per patient/week, and any other funding information which would help me understand the cost benefits of EPSS.  Do the academic Clinical Psychologists involved get any payment for their work since they are primarily employed by the university?  If so, how much?

I would like to know about psychiatrists working in EPSS.  How they are assessed and what their focus is, in terms of treatment.  Whether they promote mental health recovery or maintain that the young people engaging with EPSS have a "lifelong mental disorder". 

I would like information about any Case Studies or Reports which include quotes by young patients/service users and their carers, in their own words.  Especially anything critical or questioning.  A balanced report.

I would like to know what links there are between EPSS and the University of Edinburgh, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry departments.  Questions I have are: who decides which academic CPs are involved in the CAMHS EPSS unit?  Are there any systems in place to account for lack of satisfaction for CP therapies?  How can young people and/or their Carers transparently complain about CPs or doctors without it adversely affecting their treatment?  Are CPs only involved with EPSS patients AFTER being medicated.  Are psychiatrists the first port of call for EPSS patients?

I would like to know the systems for monitoring and evaluating EPSS, how negative and critical feedback can be safely given without it impacting negatively on the patients, clients or carers.  

Have there been any critical incidents related to the EPSS service?  If so, may I have a copy of the reports. 

How does the service first make contact with young patients, is this by referral, self referral, or other?  

I hope that this request is self explanatory.  If any further explanation needed then please do get in touch.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Sunday, 14 May 2017

walking by River Eden preparing for Psychosis teaching Glasgow University 8May17

Published on May 14, 2017
Walking from Haugh Park, Cupar, to the Garden Centre, by River Eden, reflecting on my preparation for Psychosis module teaching, 8 May 2017, to trainees on the Clinical Psychology Doctorate programme, Mental Health & Wellbeing Unit, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Hospital:

Topics of Resilience, Resistance, Recovery, Rescue, Respite, Risk, Renewal.

Friday, 12 May 2017

See Me | Dianna's Story

See Me | Dianna's Story: See Me is led by a partnership of SAMH and MHF Scotland and is funded by the Scottish Government and Comic Relief.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

PhD Clinical Psychology University of Edinburgh - Withdrawal of Offer 9May17

after last meeting 4May17 with PhD Supervisors
Letter by Email received today from Emily Gribbin, Head of Student Administration, School of Health in Social Science, The University of Edinburgh, Medical School (Doorway 6), Teviot Place, Edinburgh:

"Dear Chrys

We note from recent communications that you have rejected the supervision team that was identified in your offer for study on the PhD in Clinical Psychology (PRPHDCLIPC1F).

We are unable to find a viable alternative supervision team and have therefore withdrawn this offer to you for study on this programme.

Best wishes


My "thank you" Email to supervisors Prof Matthias Schwannauer and Dr Rosie Stenhouse, academic mentor Prof Andrew Gumley:

"Dear Matthias, Rosie and Andrew

I am writing to thank you respectively for agreeing to be my PhD Clinical Psychology supervisors and academic mentor.

The supervision didn't work out however I appreciate that you took the time to meet with me and give it a go.

Life isn't fair Matthias, you are correct.  

I am still hopeful of undertaking an action research PhD into Safe haven crisis Houses in the UK and abroad.  

Yours sincerely,



More photos taken after last meeting with PhD supervisors Prof Matthias Schwannauer and Dr Rosie Stenhouse on 2 May 2017 in the Professor's room, Doorway 6, Medical School.  I was upset after the meeting and went walking up Calton Hill:

Thursday, 4 May 2017

"no way we can guarantee success": the breakdown of supervision; "slumbering time bomb"

On Tuesday I had a meeting organised with my PhD Supervisor Professor Matthias Schwannauer in Edinburgh at his office, Doorway 6, Medical School.  This was in response to an Email I sent to my supervisors and academic mentor on 26 April, an appeal for solidarity:

Strapline: being set up to fail [risk of relapse]; equating psychosis with mental disorder

"Dear Matthias, Andrew, Rosie

I'm looking for solidarity on my PhD journey.  For you to stand with me, alongside, all the way.  So that I can evidence safe haven crisis houses, alternatives to psychiatric inpatient treatment, to eventually develop the same in Scotland so that people experiencing psychosis can transition, come through, journey, without risk of coercive drug treatment, psychiatric abuse and mental disorder labels/diagnoses.

If you're not up to the job then please let me know.  I need people who are with me, not against me.  To be "with me" means not setting me up to fail.  I don't need this type of "support".  I get enough of this already from psychiatric system conscripts who have done their best since 2008 to silence my voice, to bully and intimidate me.  But I didn't recover from, survive, psychosis and abusive psychiatric treatment on 3 separate occasions, just to allow Scottish mental health bully boys to have their way.  I will resist.

I don't mind failing, can bounce back.  However I'm not prepared to be set up to fail because you don't believe in me, or rather you believe the system is all powerful.  I don't believe this.  I'm not a fatalist and escaped lifelong mental illness because of my unbelief.  

Judy Thomson, Director of Psychology Training, awarded £10K for a piece of research into the involvement of Experts by Experience in NHS Psychology Training.  I've now got a copy of the 38 page booklet.  It's not an impressive piece of work, got to be honest.  In comparison my PhD will result in 100K words, over 3yrs of in-depth mixed methods research, engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, maybe a book at the end of it, eventually gathering evidence to justify the setting up of alternative safe houses in Scotland for people experiencing psychosis and/or extreme mental states, avoiding coercive treatment.  Fees of £12K plus project funding.  Value for money.  

Before applying for project funding I need to ensure PhD fee payment.  It may be that our (not just my) project funding application will include Researcher salary costs.  However the fees for year one will require to be paid within about one week of matriculation in September.  I don't have £4000 in my bank account to pay the first instalment.  I can't take out a loan because I couldn't afford to pay it back.  To be blunt, I am very poor financially, dependent on my son to give me money out of his benefits so that we can survive, pay the bills, have food to eat, a warm house, clothes on my back.  

I don't like or enjoy being poor.  To have no car now after 40yrs of driving.  That's hard, living in a village, bus service going by Stratheden Hospital where my son was abused.  I'm a resilient person but that doesn't mean I'm a superwoman.  I've got various health conditions which I live with, including a metal plate on right fibula, bladder prolapse, golf-ball sized gallstone, weak hamstring left leg and prone to muscle strain on left side due to metal plate causing imbalance.

To sum up.  It is my intention to do a PhD at Edinburgh University.  I will require you to support me in this venture.  Fees will need to be paid in September.  Project funding will be required to cover expenses and other costs.  I am not able to do it all on my own, or I would.  I won't be giving up this quest.  

Thank you for listening,

Yours sincerely, Chrys"

I received a positive response from my mentor Professor Andrew Gumley, summing up conversations which we'd had by Email and finishing with "Hope these thoughts are helpful as they reflect the kind of commitments and solidarity that I feel can support you on your quest.". 

Prof Schwannauer also responded, to a previous Email I'd sent him, firstly on 23 April then resent on 26 April, asking for a meeting to discuss funding.  He only responded when I sent the Email above.  There was a lack of communication between us and this was concerning.  Prior to this I'd had to resend Emails to receive an answer from the Professor.  

A meeting was arranged between us, on 2 May at 1pm in his office.  I'd also sent a more recent Email, saying that I would like to discuss a presentation which he'd given to DClinPsy trainees, topic of 'Interpersonal Processes', strapline of Email "Why does the majority of mental disorder develop in early adulthood?" from Slide 3, in which I said "to be honest I'm horrified".  A strong word but it was how I felt upon reading Prof Schwannauer's presentation.

Introductory slide had this quote:

Slide 2
 Which inferred that "mental disorder" was abnormal development.  Rather than a psychiatric construct which allows for coercive, abusive, treatment, justified by declarations of "incapacity". 

"Slumbering time bomb" on Slide 3 I found this very stigmatising and discriminatory, deterministic and wrong.  Eight of my family have been subject to psychiatric abuse because of mental disorder labels.  I was undertaking the PhD to evidence safer alternatives to psychiatric inpatient treatment.  

Slide 3
On 28 April I had Emailed my academic mentor saying that I had doubts about Prof Schwannauer being the right supervisor for me, the dubiety and lack of congruence, appearing to support me at one meeting then the next time being the opposite.  I'd had this since September 2016.  Plus his treatment of Rosie Stenhouse, my other Supervisor.  Catching her on the stair to give her instructions as to what she should say to me, getting her to run his errands.  Like piggy in the middle.  I wasn't happy about this. 

I said to Prof Gumley in this Email 28 April: "I don't have the time for academics who are trying to undermine me.  This is not a game.  My family have been abused in psychiatric settings.".  

However when I arrived at Prof Schwannauer's office just after 1pm on 2 May, slightly late, his door was shut and I knocked on it.  He had 2 women in with him.  And so I waited outside.  A few minutes later the women left and I entered.  As I sat down the Professor said that Rosie would be joining us.  That was a surprise, I hadn't been informed, but was fine about it.  Eventually she appeared and the meeting began.

From the offset the meeting didn't go well, it felt like two against one.  Rosie had met up with Prof Schwannauer prior to this and it seemed they had agreed a plan of action about me, without me being present.  Rosie and I were sitting on the armchairs and the Professor was sitting slightly higher in a hard backed seat.  Rosie did most of the talking, took the lead.  The Professor sat back and watched the show, or so it seemed.  Interjecting here and there.  (Puppet Master?)

Then he said in response to my statement about requiring my PhD fees to be paid and funding to be secured "no way we can guarantee success there".  I wrote it down verbatim.  I knew there and then that the Professor was not on my side.  "he that is not with me is against me"  I was being undermined.  Again.

At a previous meeting with Prof Schwannauer, 7 February in the Dugald Stewart Building, Edinburgh University, my academic mentor also present, I'd been expressing pain at my son's treatment and the cost of campaigning, how it wasn't fair.  To which Schwannauer responded saying "Life isn't fair".  No compassion.  My situation wasn't of concern to this Professor.  He didn't care and was aloof from my struggle.  (Mindfulness?)

Edinburgh University DClinPsy programme places trainees in Fife, in Stratheden Hospital where they had been using a locked seclusion room for decades to "manage" the patients.  Head of Psychology at NHS Fife, Dr Katherine Cheshire, who I met with twice in 2010/2011, said to me that she had no authority in Stratheden.  I thought it a copout and another demonstration of "mindfulness".  Minding her own business while others are being abused.  Or selfishness.  

They only stopped using the locked seclusion room when I "won" the Ombudsman complaint September 2014, having been awarded £4.4million by Scottish Government as a result of my whistleblowing regarding the abuse of my son in the Stratheden IPCU.

On 28 April I Emailed a good friend and confidante, a consultant psychiatrist, and said to him:

"I'm very concerned about this (presentation slides, "slumbering time bomb" quote).  My PhD will be an important piece of work and I will require support from my academic supervisor.  Up to this point I've not been supported and I wonder if Prof Schwannauer and I are poles apart, in terms of our understanding of psychiatric treatment and mental disorder labels/diagnoses.

And I'm not keen on the "mentalisation" philosophy, or metacognition.

I have to be able to trust my supervisor."

During the supervision meeting on 2 May in Prof Schwannauer's office I knew that our relationship was over.  I didn't trust him.  And sent an Email early the next morning, to him, Rosie and my academic mentor:

"Dear Matthias

Yesterday at our meeting you said to me, Matthias, in our discussions about my PhD research funding: "no way we can guarantee success".  A very negative response.  Undermining.  It's not the first time.

I didn't know that Rosie was to be at the meeting, no-one said.  Not sure why.  I was fine about Rosie being there but thought it odd that I wasn't informed beforehand.

It seemed that there was a divide at the meeting, two against one.  Rather than a collaboration.  That's concerning.  Rosie supporting you.  Both of you defensive whenever I raised points.  Neither of you seemed to understand where I was coming from, regarding my proposed research.  There was a barrier between us.  And it seemed to be a problem with me.  Not that I think so but this is how it came over. 

I'm not happy about this.  I don't appreciate attempts to put me in my place (wherever you think that might be, I don't know).

I'm not happy Matthias that you've been "bumping into" Rosie on the stair before she has met with me.  Directing her on what to do or say.  I find that manipulative.  It's not congruent. 

Rosie and I have worked well together in the past.  I don't appreciate that you appear to have manipulated her to stand with you against me.  That's unacceptable, regardless of your reasons for doing so.  I'm not putting up with it.  Rosie doesn't deserve to be "piggy in the middle".

I wanted to speak plainly.  Slept on it before saying anything to you.  I'm not confident with you as my PhD Supervisor.  I will require someone else to supervise me, along with Rosie, someone who is with me, not against me.

Copying in Andrew for his information.  I'd Emailed him last night with my concerns.  

I'm very unhappy with your behaviour.  I hope that I've made myself clear.  The PhD course of study is important to me, part of a long term strategy, a pathway to eventually developing safe haven crisis houses in Scotland.  Gathering evidence of good practice.  I will need supervisors who are with me, not against me.  People who are covering my back, not stabbing me in the back.  People who can take criticism from a psychiatric abuse survivor, unwaged Carer and Mother.  People who can understand my pain as a Mother of 3 sons who have been abused in psychiatric settings because of experiencing psychosis.  

I would be happy with David Gillanders as a supervisor if he was willing to take me on.

Yours sincerely,


Nearly 4 hours later I received this response from Prof Schwannauer, the quickest response I've ever had from this academic:

and then another Email from him, 29mins later, ending with "I genuinely wish you all the very best with your endeavour and I remain inspired by your motivation and energy for it.":

Here is part of an Email I wrote yesterday, requesting another Clinical Psychology Supervisor:

"I've got a PhD place within Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh therefore I will require at least one Supervisor within the department who can support me to do my best.  If Paul Hutton had still been in post there I would have asked him.  But he left for Napier.  You don't need to be my Supervisor Rosie.  I can see that you're a busy person.  Please don't feel obliged.  David Gillanders suggested you and I went along with it.

I need a Clinical Psychology supervisor who can guide me through academic processes at Edinburgh University and also support me in research and writing.  Someone who I can go to with questions and who will respond as promptly as possible, bearing in mind their commitments.  I'm good at self direction and hard work so won't require that much support once I've got funding and the process is underway.  However at this point, prior to getting funding, I will require much more support and information about university procedures.  Which I've not been getting from either of you.  For whatever reason.

Over to you, Matthias, to suggest or recommend someone who will support me to access funding, to get established at Edinburgh University as a PhD student and be a supervisor who is loyal and can stand with me.  I don't think it's too much to ask, considering my pedigree."

By this time I was getting very fed up with the game play.  All I require is a Supervisor for my PhD who can advise and support me through the process, firstly in securing funding for fees then for project costs.  And during the research and writing.  Professor Andrew Gumley is a supportive academic mentor and friend, who has demonstrated in our relationship, since 2009 when we first met at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, Glasgow, that he understands something of my pain as a psychiatric survivor and Mother, and I trust him.