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Mind, Madness and Power - Simon Wessely and others

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Sly Saint, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "The Panel
    Consultant psychiatrist Sir Simon Wessely, sociologist Steve Fuller, and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall debate the value of psychotherapy."

    Just watched this discussion from about 6 years(?) ago.

    It actually goes more into the power of the psychiatrists both over their patients and treatments offered.
    Nothing on ME but both the psychologist and sociologist raise some good points about the way things were heading which have now come to be fact ;
    as usual with Simon Wessely any criticism is turned into a joke but it makes a change to see other academics 'having a go'. (Although the Wessely school has incorporated a lot of the socio/pscho arguments.........).

    Would be interesting to know what Steve Fuller and Richard Bentall make of the PACE trial fiasco
    and the IAPT roll out.

    https://iai.tv/video/mind-madness-and-power
     
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  2. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ugh.
    He is just so charming, affable, funny (if you don't know him), he comes over as very approachable & likeable.
    I'm sure if i didn't know what i do about him & his work because i have ME, I would absolutely think he was credible, kind, reasonable. I can see totally how journos & others take his word for it.
    However I am always suspicious of people who talk about themselves as 'grown up' because it clearly illustrates that you think that other people aren't. - ie it reveals your implicit paternalism in everything else that you do.

    And he keeps going on about 'psychiatry being for 'grown ups'' - I've seen him say this before a couple of times over the yrs... it's so ruddy patronising. Unfortunately a lot of people are taken in by this attitude. When someone says 'my profession is for grown ups' it simply reveals that they think at least some other people's profession's are for children.

    Clearly Cardiologists are all just children who like fast cars... I mean that's jolly amusing & all.... except that it isnt. amusing. at all...
    this attitude underpins his entire worldview - He & his colleagues are the parents, we are all the children, children are not equal people & it is his choice whether to give 'respect' or not. Children cannot possibly know what is best for them so the grown ups have to make the decisions for them, they might give them choices 'red coat or blue coat?' But they are the choices the parent decides are allowable. Ok but if the kid has been outside & knows it's 35degrees while the parent's been in a meat locker, then the child knows more regardless of how old they happen to be.
    In the 'grown up's world children deserve pity & compassion when they suffer, but Wessely et al absolutely have no concept that even if paternalism were healthy in medicine.... the 'child' might be right & them wrong, that if the 'child' kicks up a fuss it might be because you're actually doing something wrong as a parent... But in their world that is simply impossible, utterly inconceivable.

    When the patients are not actually children it's just sick.

    But sadly most of the world still think that a child is not the most reliable witness of their own experience, that if the adult explains what just happened & the child says "no that doesn't fit with my experience", then it must be the child's thinking that is faulty. It simply cannot be that the parent is mistaken. And the 'mentally ill' are considered children.

    And this is why psychiatrists have more power than surgeons..... because when any patient complains, the degree to which society sees them as adult vs child, - how 'grown up' they are - mediates whether their voice is heard or not.
    White, middle aged, middle/upper class, male cardio patient = almost/usually a grown up
    Young, female, mental heath patient = child
     
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  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The arrogance and political glibness is quite breathtaking.
    He speaks like a man who expects his audience to hang on his every word.
    That does not say a lot for his audiences.
     
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  4. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He's classic.
     
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  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This video has been a tab in my browser since it first came out. I've never got around to watching it. I've now got about 300 tabs, and really need to start closing more of them.
     
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  6. Nasim Marie Jafry

    Nasim Marie Jafry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is indeed the problem with Simon, he comes over as so plausible unless you know the truth of how he has effectively tried to disappear ME, and of his modus operandi. He is always making jokes, invokes a camaraderie, but when you really probe and ask him difficult question he hardens - or simply ignores you. He is supremely controlling and loves the limelight - of course, his splendid PR and cosiness with the media has allowed his narrative to be the dominant one. I think we are, though, seeing his commentary on ME/CFS dwindle, though god only knows what goes on behind scenes in UK.
     
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  7. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think people of his ilk have to be arrogant, even deluded. How else could they believe they're right about things like PACE?
     
  8. ScottTriGuy

    ScottTriGuy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I just googled 'signs of a sociopath' and the top sign is:

    "Superficial charm and good intelligence."

    If it walks like a duck.
     
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  9. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Let's not forget this paper: Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Alicia Deale, Trudie Chalder, Isaac Marks, and Simon Wessely. Am J Psychiatry 1997.

    His co-author, Dr Isaac Marks, was a big fan of electroshock 'aversion therapy' for gay men (see: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/003591576806100827)! Once he wasn't allowed to torture gay men and trans people, he turned to people with ME instead.

    If that's the kind of company he keeps, well...
     
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  10. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In Martha Stout's book on psychopaths she says people ask her how to recognise them and are surprised by her answer. She says that early in her research a psychopath told her that he always invoked pity in the normal as they then became easy to manipulate. As she says, most people go out of their way to avoid being pitied and it has become something I note when I see it. Years ago, I was amazed when I read an article by SW which started "I go to dinner parties and when people ask what I do I tell them I study ME and they say "Poor you!" I was shocked by this in a scientific publication.
     
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  11. Liv aka Mrs Sowester

    Liv aka Mrs Sowester Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My money is on him being a narcissist.
     
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  12. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's possible the three conditions aren't mutually exclusive.:rofl:
     
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  13. EzzieD

    EzzieD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's an interesting observation that really strikes a chord when one remembers Wessely's claims of 'death threats', his declaration that he feels safer in Afghanistan than here amongst all the dangerous militant ME sufferers, his winning of the Standing Up For Science prize for his bravery in the face of all the harrassers, and so on. Having forced myself to sit through numerous of his radio interviews, there is almost always a thread of 'poor me' running through them. Evoking pity really seems to be his fave method of getting people on side.
     
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  14. Nasim Marie Jafry

    Nasim Marie Jafry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is what is so disturbing - it is always about Simon and rarely about the hundreds of thousands of very ill CFS (his terminology) patients he claims to be helping.
     
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  15. Evergreen

    Evergreen Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I found this really interesting, thanks for posting, @Sly Saint.

    Richard Bentall, the Clinical Psychologist, made criticisms of the overall psychiatric approach that mirror those we and others make of the psych approach to ME/CFS – poor diagnostic criteria, continuing to use ineffective treatments and not respecting patients’ views. Good to bear in mind when we’re being accused of rejecting psychiatry/psychology that these are criticisms that also come from within their field/close colleagues.

    I don’t think Wessely came out of this debate looking good at all, despite all the laughter and conviviality. He was repeatedly picked up on not answering questions. Overall his argumentation was really poor; I don't think he mentioned a single study or piece of data to back up any of his arguments (correct me if I'm wrong). He relied on such blinding logic as, well, everything’s dangerous, including my wife, to sidestep the topic at hand of whether psychiatry was dangerous.

    That’s the part that I find disturbing about Wessely's responses compared to the contributions of others on the panel. There’s absolutely no response to patient harm, either current or historical. He, and others, just don't seem bothered by it at all, and don't feel the need to address it even in passing. Seems at odds with the job.
     
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  16. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He doesn't have to believe it, just convince others to believe it - hopefully starting to unravel now. For some people personal ambitions trump truth and altruism by a seriously large margin. As the guy from Cambridge Analytica said on hidden camera the other day: It doesn't have to be the truth, people just have to believe it is true.
     
  17. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    ...a truth (or so it seems to me) - if a person's view of "reality" isn't the same as other peoples they are classed as delusional (or insane), if it is the same then everyone involved is suffering from mass hysteria - it seems that according to psychologists there is no way that isn't their way, everyone who disagrees is either delusional or a victim of mass hysteria, and their (the psychiatrists) degree of victimhood is proportional to where on that line they perceive opinion to be. Not once does it occur that maybe, if people disagree, that they (the psychiatrist) might be the delusional one, or that their profession is in the grips of mass hysteria.
     
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  18. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Worth remembering Bentall was involved with FINE, and has done the usual 'terrorist anti-psych patients' jokes.
     
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  19. Evergreen

    Evergreen Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    So good to have people who know all of this! Yes, he was an author on the FINE trial paper. I do wonder if the negative trial dented their confidence in the efficacy of CBT/GET-type approaches. Did they have a way of explaining the failure at the time that allowed them to continue undaunted? Like it was the nurses' inexperience or more severe patients or a poor stats approach?

    It will be interesting to see what happens over time - my hope is that some who previously embraced CBT will change their views in light of the reappraisal of the evidence happening now, although I wouldn't expect those in the core to change their views. I'm thinking more of, for example, GPs who used to refer their patients for CBT or GET who just decide not to any more, or, more hopefully, the odd CBT therapist who decides to drop the whole increasing activity/faulty illness beliefs bit and switch to what they would do with other chronic diseases.
     
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  20. Webdog

    Webdog Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Have you tried Graded Elimination of Tabs (GET)?

    Your tab elimination starting point or baseline will be your own current level of ability. You will then work towards tab goals and objectives that you have set yourself. For example, if your initial goal is to close 5 tabs, you can develop a GET programme to help you achieve this by improving your overall finger dexterity, stamina, and general clickiness.

    You may be worried that any increase in elimination of tabs could make your condition worse. Be reassured - research has shown that a guided, gradual elimination of tabs programme can help people who suffer from CFS/ME without causing ill effects. :unsure::)
     
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