In this show we look at how professionals working in mental health relate to their own experiences of distress. Can a worker’s own history of difficulties enrich their practice? Or are other factors more important? Should a worker’s own experiences be taboo when talking to service users, or It is helpful for a professional to be open about things that have happened to them?
John McGowan asks if it’s OK for mental health professionals to give opinions on Donald Trump’s mental health?
Someone asked me what I thought about Donald Trump the other day. I was about to give a fairly obvious reply when the earnest tone and questioning look made me pause. As the penny dropped I realised I wasn’t being asked my opinion as a person, I was being asked what I thought as a psychologist. Did I think the US president was mentally unwell and thus not fit for the office he holds?
Was mental health care in the past as barbaric as we might think? John McGowan finds out about some innovators of the Victorian era.
What do we think of mental health treatments in the 19th century? My own mind conjures up shocking images of asylums, like the one where people were caged up in the film Amadeus, or the ‘Madhouse’ of Bedlam in Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (pictured above). Both were actually set in the 18th Century but it’s all folded into a general impression of imprisonment with some torture thrown in. (Bedlam, incidentally, is a corruption of the name of The St. Mary of Bethlehem Hospital in London which still exists, though we now know it as The Bethlem.)
[NOTE: The following piece originated as an address to clinical psychologists, but also is highly relevant to others working in mental health]
Right now there’s a lot of people losing hope. If clinical psychology is the industry of the promotion human wellbeing, there’s a lot of people in need of your goods and services. I’ve been asked to discuss what happens when clinical psychology gets beyond the therapy room. So first, a little scene setting. Imagine this as the pre-credits sequence where the camera zooms across the landscape giving us a sense of the scale and scope of the story we’re about to see unfold. In just what kind of a land is this therapy room situated? Who are its inhabitants? What’s the story? You can hum your own suitably stirring theme music. Or perhaps the Benny Hill theme if you’re not as impressed with the direction I’m taking.
In this edition we discuss the compulsory powers available in the mental health system in the UK These include the Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act (MHA). The regular panel is joined by Emma Rye, a Clinical Psychologist working in in the field of learning disabilities. Emma is currently in training to take up the role of a ‘Responsible Clinician’ under the MHA. We also have interviews with Dr Matthew Debenham, an NHS psychiatrist, and with service users Rai Waddingham and Raza Griffiths, both of whom discuss how compulsory powers were used in their own treatment.