the free psychotherapy network

free psychotherapy for people on low incomes and benefits

New Savoy demo March 2017 emails

 

 

Hi all,

Andrew and I have had a go at getting the MWA into the conference. Here’s the response.

Apparently they are already the good guys.

Paul

Begin forwarded message:

From: jeremy clarke

Subject: Re: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR JEREMY CLARKE PLEASE FORWARD

Date: 10 December 2016 at 11:54:22 GMT

To: Paul Atkinson <paulwilliamatkinson@gmail.com>

Cc: Andrew Samuels <andrew@andrewsamuels.net>

Dear Paul (and Andrew)

it doesn’t look like you have ever been to a New Savoy conference? (I know that Andrew has been to more than one conference earlier on, since I invited him to speak when he was UKCP Chair, but I haven’t seen him recently?)

  1. at each of our conferences we have service user representatives who open the day and speak at each plenary session on whatever they wish to – including observations and reflections on what is going on in the sessions and workshops they attend and participate in – feedback, in other words, from their perspective about what is being discussed; they can address the whole conference as and when they wish to

sometimes when these people are national advisers representing service users or carers we have included their names on the programme as key speakers but more recently we have organised this in conjunction with Rethink and Mind and BPS, to try to get a more lived perspective from ‘ordinary’ service users, including some who have direct experience of welfare reform cuts, so we haven’t usually advertised these speakers by name on the programme in advance, and there are usually a small team of them supporting each other on the day rather than just one individual

likewise, we have featured carers including, for example, the Deputy Chair of the Mental Health Task Force, who was named on our conference programme for last year, Jackie Dyer, so it is odd that you have missed this

your depiction of the New Savoy Partnership is very wide of the mark, though your idea of what you would want to do e.g. in one of our workshops is, in fact, what has already been happening at most of our conferences to date and I would have no problem at all in designing this kind of workshop with our partners and supporter organisations again for this year

  1. you also seem to have missed the significance of the Charter we launched for staff wellbeing, which we are rather proud about, as you can see from our programme notes

we have pioneered what some people refer to as an ‘Only Us’ movement

in other words, as well as pointing out the dire consequences of the industrial model that is target led in NHS psychological therapies, directly bringing this to the attention of the Minister (this gained wide press coverage) we have opened up a safe yet highly visible space for practitioners who are also service users to be able to speak about their experiences – this has been a considerable achievement and it will feature centrally again this year

the stigma and humiliation felt by professionals who are receiving services is very moving and powerful testimony for our delegates to hear about and we are the first such conference to create the possibility for this to happen and for it then to lead on to action and further work to deliver the aims of the Charter – the point being that we will do damage to ourselves, each other and our patients if we allow ourselves to get sucked into the target-driven culture

it is this intervention, more than any other, which has at least made NHS England stop and realise its target driven model may be flawed and unsustainable … so you can imagine how popular the NSP is with NHS England

I would have thought this is something MWA should be supporting also instead of spreading a distorted and untrue picture about what happens at our conferences amongst your members and networks?

  1. re. welfare reform issues: why do you think we have devoted day 2 of our event each year since 2010 to this subject? no one else has wanted to tackle it and, if I may, when did MWA first make its appearance (somewhat later in the day than our own efforts to draw attention to these issues, year in year out, I think)

if your main point here is that everyone should withdraw from any involvement with government then it is hard to see how help can be provided to those who are suffering now and clearly that is an argument you should continue to have with professional bodies and mental health charities; you are entitled to argue that point of view, of course, as a political position – a general boycott – but the New Savoy conference is more concerned with actual practice that is trying to grapple with these issues on the frontline, and with good quality research that throws light on these difficult to solve policy problems

I don’t point this out as a way of differentiating or distancing the position of those who have spoken at NSP conferences from your own position in terms of the negative impact that current policy is having – this view is probably very widely shared, and this was the point of my question

however, whether or not you feel that your views are supported across the profession it remains the case, as it has always been, that the New Savoy Conference provides a space for critical, well-informed debate, but a debate that addresses what is happening in mental health provision and is grounded in reality, rather than a debate about how to position the mental health field per se in order to influence government policy

I hope that there are other spaces in which you can have this latter debate but I have very little influence over what professional bodies and mental health charities decide to do in relation to government policy so probably cannot help you much there, I’m afraid

  1. finally, since you seem to have missed the point of our involving Ministers (not an easy task, since they are strongly advised not to attend by their civil servants), at each conference since welfare reform cuts began in earnest under the Coalition we have hosted a session with Lord Freud, chaired by an independent, well-briefed journalist (Mark Easton from the BBC) at the end of which we have taken a vote on whether welfare reform is helping or harming the mental health of those it is meant to be reaching; I do not need to tell you the outcome of the vote; this is quite a powerful intervention (at least in so far as a conference can make such an intervention) … but if you had been there you would know

thank you for your offer and for taking the time to answer my question; I hope you will feel I have taken the time to correct your assumptions about the New Savoy Partnership in good spirit

bluntly: I think it is time you stopped attacking the New Savoy Conference on grounds that are misinformed, unfair, contrived and unhelpful – it is hard work to organise this event each year given that I place a high priority on its maintaining its independence from government as well as from all vested interests and lobby groups, including yours, and including the ‘psy-industry’ itself, of which you are, of course, also a part (though also apart!)

the name NSP means just that – we will work in partnership with whoever is willing to support our aims and projects and, again, the point of my question was to ask you to reflect on whether your aims with regard to the support that is needed for people on welfare benefits are really very different to NSP’s aims? I doubted it before, and from what you have now told me, I still fail to see any substantive difference on the issue itself (though an email exchange such as this may not be sufficient to know!)

if you and Andrew and your colleagues think that I can help you in some way I am open to further discussion but not on the basis, I’m sorry to say, of your rather un-collegial attitudes towards NSP, reflected below

kind regards

Jeremy

On 10 Dec 2016, at 10:25, Paul Atkinson <paulwilliamatkinson@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Jeremy,

In response to your email exchange with Andrew Samuels.

I would say the two crucial differences between ourselves and the professional bodies are these:

  1. Above all else, we find it deplorable that the New Savoy conference speaks entirely aboutpeople with mental health difficulties without speaking tothem and with them, without hearing from them. I have no doubt that you will also be talking about the mental health impact of your practitioners’ working conditions without hearing from them personally either.

In your introduction you proudly point out that you have hosted Ministers of State for Mental Health and Welfare. Why wouldn’t you? But there is no proud claim to have hosted people on the receiving end of New Savoy services and Government policies.

The Mental Wealth Alliance is a gathering of service users, psy practitioners and welfare campaigners. Do you wonder that we see the New Savoy Partnership – including many of the mental health charities – as a corporate club, a psy industry trade fair showing off its latest RCT pilots, its latest additions to the evidence base through which you bid for state funding?

Throughout your conference, falling somewhere between the lines of your presentations, your power-point slides and your managerial fretting and networking, you will be talking about ‘them’ – the people you are supposed to be serving and the people you employ to serve on the front line. Where are ‘their’ voices in your programme?

Perhaps as well as recommending conference-goers see “I, Daniel Blake” for a dose of reality, you might like to hear first hand  what the reality of being on the receiving end of the DWP is like from people who have spent years being tortured by the DWP’s ‘workhouse’ policies.

  1. As far as the politics of the profession’s provision is concerned, we see the coupling of health and work in Government policy over the last two decades as led by political ideology, not led by clinical evidence and clinical need as claimed.

We think the evidence base promoting work as a health care priority (the “work cure” as we dub it), especially for people with a long-term history of mental health difficulties, is ambiguous, unconvincing and often contrived.

We see the transition from welfare to workfare as politically led, accompanied as this transition is by government policies around housing, changes in the nature of work and working conditions, wealth and income inequality, benefit cuts, child poverty etc that we all know are generating mental ill health.

For many of the benefit claimants and service users in the MWA, the growing trend of mental health funding and policy initiatives targeted at getting people into work, rather than offering services which focus on their mental health, is damaging and sometimes fatal.

We think that any psychological therapies or well-being support being offered in a partnership with DWP is unethical. We think the professional bodies’ willingness to participate in what we understand to be a culture of psycho-compulsion is unethical and self-serving. In fact, it is shameful and is bringing the whole profession of psychotherapy, counselling and clinical psychology into disrepute.

The problem is not simply to do with sanctions, WCAs, and the possibility of mandatory courses of therapy. The problem is the coercive monoculture of welfare-to-work policies and their ideological underpinning.

To be blunt, we would like the professional bodies and major charities like Mind to withdraw from DWP contracts and take a public stand against its coercive and intimidating culture and its irrational obsession with work as the cure-all for mental health disabilty.  We would like to see the profession return to its primary concern – the welfare of people who are suffering.

I seriously do not believe that the professional bodies agree with these points of view. I am sure some individuals might, but few if any will be expressing them in public at your conference in March. The recent statement from the British Psychological Society on sanctions is welcome as far as it goes, but it is far too little far too late in the face of the wealth of lived, personal evidence over too many years of systemic psychological violence in the name of work as a cure for mental illness.

MWA will be respnding to the BPS statement shortly.

What we are asking is as follows:

 

Two or three of us offer a parallel workshop on one of the conference days, ideally the Wednesday for many reasons, and also that you create a brief plenary space beforehand for us to introduce ourselves and the themes of the workshop.

 

We would probably like to have a service user and a practitioner running the workshop, the workshop description to be in the conference pack with the other descriptions, and a chance for the workshop to feedback to a plenary session alongside other moments of feedback.

We look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Paul Atkinson

Mental Wealth Alliance

Mental Health Resistance Network

Disabled People Against Cuts

Recovery in the Bin

Boycott Workfare

The Survivors Trust

Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy

College of Psychoanalysts

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

Psychologists Against Austerity

Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network

Free Psychotherapy Network

Psychotherapists and Counsellors Union

Social Work Action Network (Mental Health Charter)

National Unemployed Workers Combine

Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils

Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network
On 8 Dec 2016, at 19:36, Andrew Samuels <andrew@andrewsamuels.net> wrote:

I understand your question. I am sorry I am not being clear. I want others to reply because I am in just a liaison role and others know more and do more. Hang on for a day or two! Sorry. It will save time in the long run. Andrew

 

From: jeremy clarke
Sent: 08 December 2016 19:33
To: Andrew Samuels
Subject: Re: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR JEREMY CLARKE PLEASE FORWARD

 

That doesn’t really tell me anything Andrew …

perhaps you could explain to me what the difference is between what your group is saying and what the main professional bodies are saying so I can understand what you are offering to contribute …

many thanks

Jeremy

 

On 8 Dec 2016, at 19:18, Andrew Samuels <andrew@andrewsamuels.net> wrote:

 

I wasn’t there and I am in a back seat role so I am going to connect you to the people who are active.

 

I think we would like a chance to present, plenary and panel.

 

Andrew

 

From: jeremy clarke [mailto:therapy@practice.demon.co.uk]
Sent: 08 December 2016 18:34
To: Andrew Samuels
Subject: Re: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR JEREMY CLARKE PLEASE FORWARD

 

Can you explain?

Jeremy

 

On 8 Dec 2016, at 18:28, Andrew Samuels <andrew@andrewsamuels.net> wrote:

 

Err – yes. There was a big fracas at that conf in Victoria today. I will consult and revert.    Andrew

 

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

From: jeremy clarke

Sent: Thursday, 8 December 2016 18:26

To: Andrew Samuels

Subject: Re: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR JEREMY CLARKE PLEASE FORWARD

 

Dear Andrew

apologies for the delay in responding

yes, of course I remember your orange jump suit and chains, its a sight I shall not forget!

 

what I was struck by when you spoke was that what you and Paul Atkinson were saying (I don’t recall the other person’s name), and what Peter Kindermann and Jamie Hacker Hughes were saying was the same …

I’m not sure what would be achieved by re-rehearsing what everyone agrees about?

 

perhaps I am missing something?

best wishes

Jeremy

 

 

 

On 30 Nov 2016, at 19:32, Andrew Samuels <andrew@andrewsamuels.net> wrote:

 

Dear Jeremy,

 

Do you remember that demo by the Mental Wealth Alliance outside the mini-NSP conference back in the summer? The one in the Guantanamo orange suits?

 

You let three of us in to speak and I had thought on the basis of what was said we were going to get an invitation to speak to the NSP in March.

 

Anyway, be that as it may, we didn’t hear anything. So now I am writing on behalf of the 16 organisations that constitute the MWA to ask if we may participate both in a plenary and in a parallel session?

I personally won’t be one of the speakers.

I am appending the organisations involved. Together, they are quite a force on the radical end of the spectrum.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Best wishes, Andrew

 

Mental Wealth Alliance

Mental Health Resistance Network

Disabled People Against Cuts

Recovery in the Bin

Boycott Workfare

The Survivors Trust

Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy

College of Psychoanalysts

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

Psychologists Against Austerity

Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network

Free Psychotherapy Network

Psychotherapists and Counsellors Union

Social Work Action Network (Mental Health Charter)

National Unemployed Workers Combine

Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils

Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network