Category Archives: Government

Best of the MindFields College Blog

Since last September we’ve had 72 posts on this blog on many different topics, so I’m going to filter out a few of what I consider the most interesting or important posts and put them all in the same place.

The Dream Catcher: Read the New Scientist interview with Joe Griffin  answering questions on REM sleep, depression, psychosis, trauma, conflict and cult behaviour
To sleep, perchance to dearouse: An account of my most vivid personal experience of dreaming dearousing a traumatic event I witnessed.

The Origins of the Human Givens Approach: Find out how the human givens approach originated.

The Magic Porridge Pot: Ivan Tyrrell bravely writes on ‘autistic’ government thinking and over regulation and what to do about it.

The link between dreaming and depression: Watch a short video which explains why depressed people wake up exhausted

How the link between REM sleep and depression affects the treatment of Bipolar disorder: Discussing Bipolar disorder, a post prompted by a question from another blogger.

This country needs more than ‘Supernannies’: Why the ‘givens’ of human nature should be the touchstone of any government policy.

What makes a good therapist or counsellor?: A checklist drawn up to protect people from potentially harmful types of counselling.

The link between worrying and depression: How worrying always preceeds depression, why this is related to REM sleep, and what you can do to break the cycle.

Is the NHS capable of learning from nature?: What is an effective system, and is the NHS one?
Posted by: Eleanor


Number 10 reply to Therapy Petition

If you haven’t already seen it, here is the Governmental reply to this e-petition on the No 10 website that we supported: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The reply:

“A ten-year programme of modernisation is underway to improve mental health services, to increase access to effective treatment and care, reduce unfair variation, raise standards and provide quicker and more convenient services. This programme of reform is backed by significant additional resources and is actively supported by the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE).

The Government is committed to expanding access to psychological therapies as a positive alternative to medication. We are aware of Lord Layard’s interest in this area, and he is closely involved in the Department’s work to develop models that will provide tangible evidence of the effectiveness of investing in talking therapies.

The Depression Report, published by Lord Layard and the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance Mental Health Policy Group on 19 June, advocates that psychological therapies, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, should be made available to people suffering from depression, chronic anxiety and schizophrenia. It estimates that 10,000 new therapists are needed by 2013 to treat 800,000 people every year, through the creation of 250 treatment centres, each comprising 40 therapists.

The Depression Report is not a Departmental or Government publication. While we agree that more psychological therapies are needed, it is too early to make assumptions on the number of therapists needed. We have recently established a new programme to explore the ways of delivering evidence based psychological therapies effectively.

The Government has launched the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme to produce robust evidence in favour of increasing psychological therapy capacity. The programme consists of two demonstration sites in Doncaster and Newham, and a network of smaller regional projects that will bring together key programmes run by the NHS, the voluntary sector and local employers to test various models that could be implemented nationally. The programme will explore the ways of delivering evidence based psychological therapies effectively and will provide real, tangible evidence of the value of investing in talking therapies. Based on the learning from these sites, we will develop plans on the size, composition and training requirements of the workforce that will be required to roll out an improved psychological therapy service across England in the next five to ten years.

The demonstration site programme will cost £3.7million over the lifetime of the project and is being funded by the Department of Health. The two sites have been chosen because they serve very different demographics with different health needs, and they offer different treatment models such as community-based, voluntary sector-led, or employer-led.

The demonstration sites will develop new services for providing evidence based psychological interventions for people with depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems in primary and community settings. To date, services for people with these needs have been extremely limited leading to inappropriate services and/or reliance on medication and/or referral to secondary care.

The demonstration sites will also explore a variety of ways in which appropriate services for this group of people can be provided. This will include developing integrated teams of therapists provided by NHS and non-statutory providers. The new services will also be integrated with new Employment Advisers to support people in retaining and returning to work. The Advisers will enable the new services to develop more effective links with employers, occupational health services and Job Centre Plus.

The Department of Health is aware of the concerns about the emphasis that the IAPT programme places on CBT. The prospect of including other forms of psychological therapy in the programme has been discussed a number of times by the expert reference group which advises the programme’s board on matters of research efficacy and evaluation. However, it was decided that the IAPT programme should not deviate from its stated aim of increasing access to those therapies, like CBT, that are supported in the current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Notwithstanding the above, the Government recognises that many therapists are keen to ensure that the public can choose from a range of evidence-based and empirically validated therapies, together with those currently recommended by NICE. Indeed, given the relatively recent emergence of the recognition of the efficacy of psychological interventions, we expect that the IAPT programme will be capable of incorporating new research data in order to innovate and improve continuously the choice of psychological therapies being offered.”

Posted by: Eleanor

Do you think we deserve effective psychotherapy in the NHS?

I’ve been very helpfully informed about a petition (which is running until 3rd March 2007) on the Government’s website which anyone interested in effective therapy should sign. Pass this around if you agree and get as many signatures as possible

The motion is this:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The proposal by Lord Layard to increase by 10,000 the number of CBT therapists in the NHS ignores the benefits to people of other forms of therapy. Relationship based therapy, such as the Person Centred Approach, and others, have a proven record of helping to alleviate distress and to change lives.

‘We Need To Talk’ , a July 2006 report into NHS availability of mental health treatment supported by MIND, The Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, TheSainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Young Minds highlights the need for more organisation and consideration of therapies other than CBT in this area.

They recommend that “The Department of Health should investigate the current bias in research priorities and address it by supporting more research into psychological therapies.”

The more signatures this petition gets before 3rd March 2007 so it receives the Priministerial attention it deserves, the better.

Sign the petition here.

Posted by: Eleanor

Common Ground: diplomacy and the human givens


If you are interested in the Middle East conflict, I’ve just put up a fascinating article from a 2006 issue of the Human Givens Journal by John Bell.

He is the Middle East Director for Search for Common Ground and a founding member of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and suggests that only a ‘radically different, innate needs-based approach to conflict resolution can bring a possibility of peace to the Middle East’.

“DIPLOMATIC intervention seems, in this day and age, to be less and less effective as an instrument of managing frictions and conflicts between states. This is particularly so in the Middle East, where venture after diplomatic venture has failed; indeed, they have possibly even exacerbated the troubles there.

At its core, the Middle East conflict speaks to the ancient human need to protect against outside threat. The irony is that the methods the region has developed to do so now propagate those threats by blurring the need for security with other unidentified essential needs, no longer meeting any of them clearly and, as a result, exacerbating problems with outsiders. If diplomacy is to offer any useful answers, it needs a fresh approach and a clear understanding of human needs, how they manifest and how to meet them…” read more

Posted by: Eleanor

Creating healthy environments in psychiatric wards

no straight jackets

No straight jackets? 

Here’s a cheerful feature from The Guardian about a new male psychiatric ward in South London called The Tarn.  Everyone working at the centre recognises the importance of creating a safe, responsible, stimulating and status rich environment for the severely unstable and often violent men who live there – and the article reports on their very positive results:

 “Francis Adzinku, the trust’s acute and crisis services manager, insists that he and his colleagues developed their distinctive approach in former, very rundown wards, and that it is much more about attitudes and principles.

“If you prepare an environment where you think people are going to throw things around, then they come prepared to do that,” Adzinku says. “But if you put people in an environment where they feel comfortable, where it is clean and where there are nice things to look at, the effect can be wonderful. The philosophy is to have, as much as possible, an ideal environment, and we have a very good multi-disciplinary team who have a clear idea of the philosophy they are working with.” read the article

Posted by: Eleanor

Waste in the NHS

I’m not quite sure why I haven’t noticed this before but here is an excellent video from the very beginning of this year about wasted money in the NHS, much thanks to Burning Our Money for this.

The other videos are also worth watching – but I can’t sit down to more than one at once because my anger levels rise too much to give them the concentration they deserve!

Posted by: Eleanor

MindFields is now a preferred trainer for the Ministry of Defence

Great new developments today, as we’ve just heard from the MOD that we are now one of their preferred educators!

This means that one of the ways in which they can fulfil their pledge for encouraging and funding life-long education of all their staff is by recommending people to attend MindFields College courses.

It will also help many ex-service personnel re-train by taking our Human Givens Post-Graduate Diploma course by making the funding available for them in order to do so.

Posted by: Eleanor