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 'Cos if you had enrolled and then withdrawn you wouldn't have a second chance'.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

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Horrible Work Organizations: Two More Psychologists

A meeting with a therapist acquaintance a few weeks ago has helped me reflect further on my time at Wretchington and how bad it really was there, and may still be if the casual comments of those still employed there are to be believed.  My therapist pal interrupted me four times as I was telling him of my experiences there, managed for the most part by HalfArse Houlihan and his wife. He asked , "Is what you're telling me true?"  Like the solicitor myself and several colleagues consulted he found it incredible that such a regime of poor management endured for so long.  The management of our employing institution and their insurers decided that it was best to deny these happenings.

The two psychologists I wish to refer to here were both working in the mental health field, both members of or eligible for membership of their big bureaucratic professional body.  The first of these joined Wretchington in the mid-90s.  On the day of her interview she told me, over lunch, of her illness - a physical illness was declared Dear Reader - Hodgkinson's Lymphoma.  She related how her erstwhile male partner told her how their home would be paid for on her demise once their endowment policy paid out. Quite a lot of stuff to tell a complete stranger at a place of prospective employment on interview day.

As it turned out this clinical psychologist, let's call her Mal Mallyvent, was appointed. Who else would the Houlihans appoint, they went for the weakest and most malleable candidates, it often seemed to me. A second specialist in the mental health field was appointed a few terms later. A young woman, Joyce,  in the blossom of her years. It wasn't long before Mal had conjured up a cunning stunt. She set about persuading Joyce that she was not heterosexual and led her into a Lesbian relationship.  Poor Joyce. She consented to being impregnated by Mal's brother, and a child was born to the happy couple. Not much time passed before Joyce realised the mistake she had been persuaded to make and she left the relationship, with her child.  In the years that have intervened, how the product of their relationship has coped with their status, Heaven only knows.  While Joyce quit the institution, Wretchington, Mal kept very much in touch through her close personal friendship with Mrs HalfArse Houlihan.  Not only that, she secured a key position in a local NHS Trust.

I came across her again, albeit vicariously, when another appointment was made about a decade later.  This new colleague, who had worked with Mal Mallyvent said of her that she was the most manipulative person he had ever encountered, either clinically or professionally.  He shared with me the idea that she had 'form' in persuading her naive heterosexual female colleagues - one wonders too about the clients - that they were gay and starting relationships with them.  Perhaps Mal herself has always remained straight but has played the Lesbian card because it is the only was she can secure a relationship which she can control.  Of one of Mal's partners he told me that the first she knew that her relationship with Mal had ended was when she returned home from work and found her suitcases packed outside the home they had once shared.

So yes, it is true what I have been telling you. And stand by for more.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Horrible Work Organizations: Two Psychologists - inter alia - at Wretchington

I worked among psychologists in my immediate work environment. I rarely spent much time with them because, generally we had so little in common. Apart from the nastiness of the horrible bullying of colleagues for which the institution never apologised, there were other oddities among these applied scientists.

One once confided in me that whenever he saw a pregnant woman he had the fantasy of punching her in the belly.  I hope it remains a fantasy. This character agreed with me that another colleague was a sexual predator.  I mention this in particular because on occasion he was seen looking at me through the glass in my office door (while I was facing the computer screen). If I worked beyond 5pm and had the radio playing he would invariably knock on the door and ask me to lower the volume - it seemed to be a power thing with him. Whenever he had the opportunity to do so, for example through peer quality control, he would ctiticise me.  He really was grotesque. That his research area was learning difficulties - his population were vulnerable people has made me wonder what risks did they face through being part of his research population.

He had worked for a while in the city in which I grew up and once, on learning that he was going to be there when I was visiting, I suggested that we might meet up. His queerness was to the fore in an SMS mesage he sent me telling me that he was staying with a friend on 'the northside' and that he 'couldn't accommodate'. he asked ME if we could meet in a sauna or a cottage.  Such bizarre behaviour on his part made me wonder if he had been groomed by our manager to make such suggestions. I once put it to him that he was indeed being groomed by her.  He appeared genuinely surprised by my question.

I never travelled home after work on the train with him after that.

Both of these Two Psychologists are still in post.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Horrible Work Organizations: Research Clientelism in Higher Education

On the run up to the Research Excellence Framework there was much busyness about who was going to do what, how it was presented, who was in, who was out - what researchers are research active, what staff are to be excluded etc etc ad nauseam et ad infinitum.  I attended only one meeting and my contribution was why beat ourselves up about this as even if the REF results in monies/research funds coming our way - managers may (and historically have) decided that the money goes elsewhere.

At Wretchington, a particularly obnoxious Knob was made Director of Research and the insider argument was that he was selected in the knowledge or hope that he would balls it up and thereby justify the institution's sacking or at least demoting of him. HalfArse Houlihan and he were close, shall we say.  And, I think that I am correct in saying that the Executive in charge of Research and Enterprise was himself registered for a Research Degree at a somewhat more prestigious institution - I am not sure if he has submitted his thesis yet. Interestingly, I believe that NONE of the directors of  Wretchington have a research degree.  Years ago he was described as being in the (institution's exit) waiting room. I saw him performing just the once at a meeting I attended as a non-executive director. He used the term 'shovel ready' to describe a project on which he was reporting. To be he was the Shit-Shovelling Shovel Ready Shit.

The School, later Faculty, that Behavioural Sciences was to be restructured into was that of Health and Well-Being another, terrible misnomer. Its leading research light has been quoted in the institutions brochure 'Research Excellence'as saying the following: 'The broad focus of each research theme means that it is easy to modify the range and the scope of the indicative content within our research focus, which allows us to respond quickly to changes in industry'.  What on earth does this mean and what, Dear Reader, is it doing in a University's research plan?  For me, this was the writing on the wall. No way could one develop as an independent researcher in an environment which espoused such values. OK, the penetration of industry into the research agendas of Universities has been with us since the Second World War (see Ravetz 1971 for example). But to work in an institution where other possible research scenarios were never explored was to work in a very restrictive and narrow environment. Research generally had to be applied, be capable of generating income, and was not likely to rock the boat.

Interestingly and reasssuring to note,  the University of Wretchington slipped down the league tables once the REF outcomes were made known. In common with the Chief Executives of many such institutions, Wretchington's Chief Executive was said to be delighted that 'world class' research was taking place at Wretchington (but not as much as he would like, no doubt).

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Horrible Work Organizations: The Whereabouts of HalfArse Houlihan


The following arrived in my inbox this week from a former colleague who, like many, at the ancient and learned institution was treated very badly by HalfArse Houlihan.


I can get you sort of up-to-date about the comings and goings of HalfArse Houlihan. His first wife G once had a baby sitter called Veronica, who she still sees a lot of. Veronica has a son in his mid fifties, who leads a bizarre life. Each morning his mother gives him his breakfast, then out he goes to walk the local streets. He  returns home for lunch, then walks the streets again until he returns  home for his tea. This obsessive behaviour is repeated every day,  that's all he does with his life. He is often seen walking around  this area, and knows that I know the Houlihans, so when I bump into him I end-up hearing all about them, even though I have pointed out to  him, on more than one occasion, that to me they are just an aberration. As you say he 'retired' in July, although of course he never really  did any work, so I suppose in reality he actually retired much  earlier. He is now hanging around G again. If she has him back  she wants her head looking at. His other second half, Mrs Houlihan 2,   finished before him and now lives in Newtown Powys. So the  Houlihan generation is now a thing of the past at Wretchington. 

 Ike recently told me that when HalfArse departed, he left all  kinds of problems behind. He departed rapidly because the new dean  gave him some work to do and insisted that he did it. A foreign  concept indeed. He always tried to appear to be far more  knowledgeable than he was, I never thought he was very bright. I  assume he had been pontificating to the new dean, who gave him the  job of overseeing the building of the new labs in what we knew as 'B'  Block. HalfArse was clearly not up to the job, and little was done. The  only way he could deal with it was to take time off, with stress. He  was off for a considerable time, then left. Ike also told me that  one of Houlihans's duties was to look after some of the finances, and so  not surprisingly, part of the faculty almost ground to a halt because  some of the research groups were not receiving funds that had been  allocated to them. Basically it was a mess, he had over three hundred  unanswered emails on his computer, all to do with work, from the time  before he went off sick. So finally, thank goodness, someone, in the  form of the dean caught up with him. I had the misfortune to bump  into him and his son a few weeks ago as I departed from W's  railway station. I imagine they were on their way to the Great  Western. I just looked the other way, and ignored them. According to Ike, DD is now in charge of behavioral sciences. I  sometimes bump into N who looks more and more like a tramp.  His clothes are shabbier than ever, he always looks as though he  needs a shave and his hair wants a good wash. He never speaks, I  think he has forgotten me.

Horrible Work Organizations: The Whereabouts of HalfArse Houlihan


The following arrived in my inbox this week from a former colleague who, like many, at the ancient and learned institution was treated very badly by HalfArse Houlihan.


I can get you sort of up-to-date about the comings and goings of HalfArse Houlihan. His first wife G once had a baby sitter called Veronica, who she still sees a lot of. Veronica has a son in his mid fifties, who leads a bizarre life. Each morning his mother gives him his breakfast, then out he goes to walk the local streets. He  returns home for lunch, then walks the streets again until he returns  home for his tea. This obsessive behaviour is repeated every day,  that's all he does with his life. He is often seen walking around  this area, and knows that I know the Houlihans, so when I bump into him I end-up hearing all about them, even though I have pointed out to  him, on more than one occasion, that to me they are just an aberration. As you say he 'retired' in July, although of course he never really  did any work, so I suppose in reality he actually retired much  earlier. He is now hanging around G again. If she has him back  she wants her head looking at. His other second half, Mrs Houlihan 2,   finished before him and now lives in Newtown Powys. So the  Houlihan generation is now a thing of the past at Wretchington. 

 Ike recently told me that when HalfArse departed, he left all  kinds of problems behind. He departed rapidly because the new dean  gave him some work to do and insisted that he did it. A foreign  concept indeed. He always tried to appear to be far more  knowledgeable than he was, I never thought he was very bright. I  assume he had been pontificating to the new dean, who gave him the  job of overseeing the building of the new labs in what we knew as 'B'  Block. HalfArse was clearly not up to the job, and little was done. The  only way he could deal with it was to take time off, with stress. He  was off for a considerable time, then left. Ike also told me that  one of Houlihans's duties was to look after some of the finances, and so  not surprisingly, part of the faculty almost ground to a halt because  some of the research groups were not receiving funds that had been  allocated to them. Basically it was a mess, he had over three hundred  unanswered emails on his computer, all to do with work, from the time  before he went off sick. So finally, thank goodness, someone, in the  form of the dean caught up with him. I had the misfortune to bump  into him and his son a few weeks ago as I departed from W's  railway station. I imagine they were on their way to the Great  Western. I just looked the other way, and ignored them. According to Ike, DD is now in charge of behavioral sciences. I  sometimes bump into N who looks more and more like a tramp.  His clothes are shabbier than ever, he always looks as though he  needs a shave and his hair wants a good wash. He never speaks, I  think he has forgotten me.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Horrible Work Organizations: He was brimful of evil.

Being brimful of evil is how King John was described in Magna Carta: the Aftermath of Runnymede http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04wwcnm - a series of four programmes introduced by Lord Melvin Bragg. King John was described as the smile with a knife. How many of us in our day-to-day work organizations have met with managers who might be so described. Ramsarse in a previous post may be one. In my own experience HalfArse Houlihan is the best example, an unprincipled shit who will lie - and persuade others to lie - steal, defraud to maintain his own position and his own belief in his worth, a self which has little or no credit now. So brimful of evil is he - so full of shit - that his paltry scab covered body - he hosts psoriasis - that the department is pervaded by the stench of his bodily and moral decay.  It is as if his body cannot contain his evil and leaks it so that other souls may be warned of the horror in their midst.

Hell itself is defiled by the fouler presence of King John'. ... and slothful; judicious and corrupt; sensitive and myopic; intelligent and brutish; cultured and violent. 


(Who's who in British History: A-H - Page 731 - Google Books Result

https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1884964907
Geoffrey Russell Richards Treasure - 1998 - ‎Great Britain)

To my horror when sitting next to an executive director of this institution at a meeting where the non-executive directors were in attendance, I sensed a whiff from him which was almost identical to that HalfArse Houlihan. Of the same kidney - I thought. It was the last meeting of non-executive directors I attended.

PS: I wonder if King John was similarly stinking.


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