I’m posting a relatively long list of activities because I’m planning ahead, because quite a lot is planned, and because I’ve a lot to do, further posting might be difficult.
After a day catching up on both university and British Psychological Society business on 4th July, I attended and presented at a conference on psychological therapies on 5th July – an event enlivened by the presence of protestors, arguing that links between the Department of Work and Pensions / Job Centre Plus and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme pave the way to permitting compulsion to enter therapy (something they, and I, repudiate) and run the risk of implying that unemployment is a kind of, or symptom of, some form of psychological disorder (again, a point of view I repudiate). As I said at the time, I think that meaningful and purposeful activity and high quality, well-paid, work are important for our wellbeing. I have long argued that employment advisors play a valuable role in psychological care and should be part of multi-disciplinary teams. However I believe that a return to work should be a goal of therapy only if the client wants it to be a goal. Compulsion should never be part of therapy. I’d go much further. I believe that ‘conditionality’ – making, for instance, the receipt of benefits conditional upon other factors, for instance attending therapy – is misguided. In any event… I share the values of the protestors, even if I accepted an invitation to speak at an event they picketed.
On the 6th July, I met colleagues from MentalHealth Europe – Sante Mentale Europe to discuss how we might work together on joint projects, and then attended the launch of “A Healthier Life for All: The Case for Cross-Government Action”; an essay series (for which I’m an author) on health and social care [http://www.health.org.uk/news/cross-government-action-needed-improve-health-uk-according-all-party-parliamentary-health-group] prepared for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Health and the Health Foundation. As well as attending an awards ceremony at the RoyalStatistical Society, I also posted a comment about the Chilcot Enquiry for the British Psychological Society’s Presidential blog.
On Thursday 7th July, I followed up previous actions with further discussions with colleagues about both Mental Health Europe and possible briefing papers on complex strategic decision-making.
On Friday 8th July (at the time of writing), I will be involved in a teleconference about the future shape of clinical psychology training, before visiting the Department for Work and Pensions for discussions on a wide range of issues.
On Monday 11th July, I shall hold a regular teleconference with colleagues before continuing to help edit a forthcoming BPS report on depression.
Tuesday 12th July will see me continuing in the same vein – further editorial work and a meeting with clinical psychology colleagues.
My Vice-Chancellor will be delighted to know that I will be spending Wednesday 13th, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th on university business (with some NHS work).
I am involved in personal issues on Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th July, and then I travel first to Google Headquarters in San Francisco for their SciFoo conference, before travelling on to the International Congress of Psychology in Yokohama, Japan (I will, bizarrely, add a day to my life, I think… by flying eastwards to America and then Japan and the further east to come home, I think I’ll be ahead of the sun… which will be interesting, although somewhat stressful, as my subscription-paying colleagues will be delighted to know I’ll be spending around 48 hours flying in economy class).
Bad for my health, after a short break, I’ll be flying back to the USA for the American Psychological Association’s Annual Congress, returning on 10th August.
Finally (for this post), I shall be meeting colleagues from the Irish Psychology Association … thankfully, in London (which means merely a 5am alarm call and a train journey rather than a transatlantic flight).