Friday, 2 June 2017

Trump the Destructive Narcissist

Wonderful to see DT being referred to as a destructive narcissist by Fintan O'Toole in today's Irish Times. It reminded me of a manager I experienced at Wretchington University.  She was simply awful, married to a functional psychopath and both of them manipulated and were manipulated by the Director of Human Resources and the Chief Executive - the man with the air of a public lavatory attendant.  Neither of these people acted responsibly in dealing with the concerns of aggrieved members of staff who were being violently treated by the two sick managers.  It was not in their interest to accept that such violence was happening on their patch, nor on their watch.

The Destructive Narcissist I knew allegedly had her fitness to practice as a counselling psychologist fiddled by a 'very close personal friend' - a clinical psychologist - and to this day she sits on the Professional Affairs Committee of her (un)Professional Body.

So it goes.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Low Sttandards in High Places

Are all organizations the same?- the question is often asked.  At Wretchington the answer to this question may be put thus - Power is exercised to protect the reputation of the power holders, the Chief Executive, the Director of Personnel/Human Resources and so on. In other words those and their lickspittles whose behaviour and leadership evoke the two word response 'TOXIC SHITHOLE' when employees at the University are asked what life is like there at the moment.

Going through the motions, once upon a time, the Director of Human Resources - she who has the habit of peeling fruit in meetings (Monkey see, Monkey do) - in purportedly trying to arbitrate the difficulties that a significant number of psychology staff were bringing to her attention, approached ACAS (Arbitration Counselling and Advisory Service) to do its magic. ACAS had already had at least one negative experience of Personnel practices at Wretchington.  It turned out that the ACAS person, once information had been disclosed by the injured to her, saw that the process had been nobbled by Human Resources and withdrew from the process. She understood that she had been set up. To the aggrieved psychologists, it became clear that the Director of HR did not want there to be a resolution to the issues raised but rather she wished the academics in question to leave the institution- and the wrong-doers kept on. Further evidence of this was that another putative attempt at 'arbitration' saw an entrepreneurial psychologist from Harborne in Birmingham being brought in to resolve the conflict. The person had already been hired to deliver teaching by one of the Functional Psychopaths against whom most of the complaints in this case had been made.

If you buy into to your employer's reconciliation scheme, beware! Caveat Emptor.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Talking Bollocks - Grow a Pair: Advice from the Associate Dean for Research

Maybe it's because she has four sons, but to talk a chauvinist talk - as a woman to another woman who works to advantage the role of women in her chosen and allied fields is rather distatsteful.  Such advice is par for the course in an institution whose crass managerialist culture is evidenced by systemic and endemic bullying.  'Grow a pair' - where on earth did the poor cow divine that she had the right to say this to another colleague?

A colleague of hers told me that she is probably the only person in such a position in a UK university - Associate Dean of Research and Enterprise who doesn't have a research degree.  Well look at this.  Her line manager is said to have been educated at, among other institutions, The University of Bath.  When he arrived at Wretchington he was enrolled as a PhD student, it seems, at Bath.  Innovation and Change, his field of expertise. He is still registered for his degree it seems, or at least I cannot find evidence that it has  yet been submitted.  The chief executive doesn't have one a research degree either.  I once heard the Associate Dean's line manager being referred to as 'being in the waiting room' - for departure from the institution. But he's still there - four years later. That's what Wretchington's culture does - it sees generally poor chief executives surround themselves with characters weaker than themselves who then form a coterie of mutual self-interest and protection - and bugger the ambitions of the rest of the members of institution.  I once heard the arse in question give a verbal report wherein he used the term 'shovel ready' - referring to a site which was to be developed. The only shovelling I witnessed him doing was spreading shit far and wide around his dominion, even sending in a sewage tanker to clean out the substructure of the School of Applied Sciences the day its Dean was promoted to the role of the institution's Dean Of Research.  I am not sure where the waste was deposited but you can bet your life it landed on another manager's desk.

And so to Growing a Pair: The Chief Executive is a weak man, with power.  He is an operator.  He has all the charm and much of the appearance of a bottle of Harpic.  Someone who knows how to drive the best of his staff clean around the bend. He is not to be trusted.  At 'Open Meetings' he talks his talk, takes questions from people he knows by name - often members of the executive.  He has been observed for years wandering around the front of the room planting his bollocks on the corners of tables and desks.  It is truly remarkable how many colleagues have commented on this. The testosterone infused furniture around the institution has imparted some of its essence to other institution members who then 'talk bollocks', such as 'growing a pair'.  It looks as if the institution is on the threshold of pioneering  Applied Bollockology as an academic discipline along with its shit shovelling managerialism.

Note: all the characters in this blog are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living, dead or almost dead, is unintentional.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Stark Bollock Naked in The Workplace

So HalfArseHoulihan's post Wrottesley life hasn't eased his travails in his search of self. (Perhaps he should begin by looking up his arsehole.)

News reached me a few months ago that his colleague, fellow warehouse director and only son turned up for work on The Marshes one morning to find his Sire in flagrante delicto, stark bollock naked in the company of another man.  Never knowingly one to swing both ways, this must have come as a shock to the lad.  The poor son retreated to his home town and off-loaded to his erstwhile Nanny, whose son off-loaded to the Blush Telegraph. The poor kid, OK he's about 30 yeas of age, but to have a father, employer, work-colleague like that must upset his sense of self, and his sense of much more besides.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Another Psychologist Leaves Wretchington!

Why she left her post at the University in the City of The Mad People, I'll never know. The story is that she wanted to be closer to home. Having been a police officer in the Met I wonder if she had had previous experience of being bullied.  Obviously quite a competent person she found, like so many before her, that it was quite simply impossible to do her job at Wretchington.  As a high-flying research academic she was managed by an incompetent Yeah Sayer, a woman who told her 'to grow a pair' and 'not to be a victim'. Saying this to a champion of women in science may have been the straw that broke the camel's back. She took her concerns to the top who, rather than assuring her that a cultural change would transform her working experience at Wretchington, offered her an increase of £25k on top of her professorial salary and a 'no-teaching' contract. She was having none of it and leaves in a matter of weeks.

Good luck to her.

Monday, 25 January 2016

My Therapist is Bonkers

It has been a while, Dear Reader. The PTSD has kicked in and the awareness that there are, to be polite, so many unsuitable professionals working as therapists in the Psy Industries weighs more heavily upon me than ever.

A number of years ago, a colleague found a paper copy of an email in a filing cabinet which she was to use during her tenure at Wretchington. The correspondence is between an academic - who in a distressed state had tendered her resignation - and the then Dean, none other than Ramsarse. I represent the contents below with the identities of the correspondents hidden.

Dear Ramsarse 

I feel such a nuisance to you and wonder whether the difficulty is you have not the heart to tell me I am not the right person for this post? I cannot help the way that I am, but am forever trying to improve the course.  I will not bother you about this again, but please do let me know your decision as soon as you can (this sort of thing really distresses me).  Do not worry, whatever you decide, I am sure it will be for the best.

Kindest regards,


This distressed colleague had just had promotion to a more senior tenure, normally a formality, denied by Mrs. Half-Arse Houlihan, always keen to exercise her power to distress colleagues.  The author of the above email would not challenge Mrs Half-Arse Houlihan about this as 'they both went back a long way'.  The exercise of power in action, Dear Reader.  Both now practice as psychotherapists in the private sector.

Ramsarse replied thus.

Dear *****

I thought I had already dealt with this.  As far as I am concerned this is a motter (sic) for you and N***y and I have asked her to talk with you.  To this effect your letter of notice is on hold until you and N***y can find an appropriate way forward.  I have contacted personnel last week to confirm this.  Just as an aside, it is alot (sic) easier to go and talk to people than to fire in your resignation and then withdraw it straight away.  In future a little more reflection may be a good idea.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Integrative Psychotherapy at Brum Metro

The day of the interview for a place on the postgraduate training course came around. I had been through this particular mill before, was offered a place, turned up for the first day of the course - despite my misgivings about the course tutors, a couple who I felt were protective of each other during the interview. She being full of 'ah sure feck' it whimsy and he flexing his gestalt psychotherapist self-love muscle. Their grottiness I had forgotten in the intervening twelve months and so I subjected myself to another session with them. The redeeming features of the course are that it's cheap (are you surprised?) and that attendance is required one day per week for 30 weeks and that it is now located conveniently close to the city centre.

So i was asked to account for myself in the intervening twelve months. Had I been in therapy? No, I answered I thought I'd tough it out. This wasn't a good thing to say as it showed that I didn't love myself. I was castigated for leaving the course the previous year, not having enrolled. 'Cos if you had enrolled and then withdrawn you wouldn't have a second chance'. I had ruffled feathers and their judgmentalism was to the fore. Caveat emptor, I thought. I was castigated as being 'co-dependent', Dr Gestalt wondering what I got from it. This was unprofessional shock-jock stuff.  Ms Whimsy talked a bit of her life and the enjoyment she found through her grand-daughter and how sad she thought my life was. She thought I had formidable defense mechanisms in place and it was a job for them to get to see who I was.  No I wouldn't be offered a place on the course this year as to have somebody on the course such as me would be very disruptive for other students. Heaven only knows what baggage they bring, maybe only one piece of cabin baggage is allowed on the course.  It should be noted that no requirements had been made of me in the case of my reapplying for a place on the course. It's just that this couple's peevish professionalism and judgementalism got in the way got in the way of me being offered a place at this particular centre of excellence - isn't that what places like this are referred to? being members of the academic staff, I think I am correct in saying that I could not find one piece of published academic research by this pair., who to me were clearly institutionalised by their shortcomings.  It's awfully common, you know,

Dr Gestalt was clearly rattled when I referred to the bureaucratic and professional requirements of his professional body, 'They are NOT bureaucratic,' he countered. Poor man. Poor students. For anyone with eyes to see there is much to be critical of in The Therapy Industry, as Paul Moloney (2013 Pluto Press) refers to the talking therapy. Much of it is highly questionable and Moloney presents a statistic that in the process of therapy only 12.5% of the effort employed is effective.  Precious practitioners don't like to hear this stuff, yet arguably they are being unprofessional in their work by ignoring critical work in the field.

If you are thinking of training for therapy, have a look at Moloney's book. It is eye opening. Use your eyes before you are blinded by the self-interested nastiness of characters such as Miss Whimsy and Dr Gestalt.

Best wishes