Friday, 7 December 2012

Bournemouth University

It's only two months since I last attended an event at Bournemouth University.  And yet, chatting with some other attendees before the talk last night about Early Intervention in Psychosis, I had already forgotten what the last talk was about.  It does not bode well for my upcoming exam.  Anyway, I have remembered now - the last talk, of course, was called 'What's in a Name?' and it was about labelling - aka diagnosis. 

Well, we have not got very far with that particular mission.  (Boo, Schizophrenia Commission!)  But let's keep on keeping on...

This talk was by another mental health nurse, and featured a case study.  It was interesting the way that the case study was used to illustrate the various points that the speaker made.  I made a lot of notes about what he was saying, and I only wish that he had left the slides up longer so that my notes would have been more complete - my handwriting is not very speedy these days. 

I think the speaker assumed that most of the audience would already have a working knowledge of the subject.  There were attendees from across the country, although most of them were local, and they were a mixture of mental health professionals and students (and the odd 'service-user' - horrid expression).  The talk was put on by the local branch of the British Psychological Society.

The nurse spoke about Psycho-Social Intervention (PSI).  His slides often mentioned that PSI should be used as an alternative to medication, or in addition to it, but when he spoke about the practice of it, it always seemed to be as well as, not instead of, medication.  This confused me a little - but then I realised that as a mental health nurse he has probably never tried not to use medication - it is still the first port of call of psychiary - and so he probably didn't even notice that the proponents of PSI (I understand that it is the brainchild of Alison Brabban but I could be wrong here)  mentioned its potential as an alternative.  Hopefully, that will seep in eventually.  

Anyway, I won't go too much into the talk, only to say that it was delivered articulately and with humour.  The only hope for the mental health system is that the practitioners are compassionate - and I felt encouraged by the fact that there are people working locally who understand this fact, and who are trying to teach it to the students who will soon qualify to work in the system.

Actually, everyone I met last night was kind and interesting.  The food was good too - there was a giant and delicious fruit platter as well as various sandwiches, other snacks and lots to drink.  (Did you need to know that?) 

I had already been introduced to the faculty members by my Psychology tutor, so they were expecting me last night, and made me feel very welcome.  Which was good, because I had gone on my own, which made me feel like a bit of a Billy No-Mates (most of my mates are either Mums or working or both and my ultimate mate - Paul - was of course looking after our kids).  So it was nice to find people so easy to chat to. 

I suppose psychologists are usually friendly, it is the sort of trade that attracts caring people.  I felt a bit guilty, because while talking to one lovely lady - and it was a fascinating conversation on my favourite subject, children - I kept looking over her shoulder, to the point that eventually she turned to see what I was staring at.  I was too embarrassed to admit that I was trying to keep an eye on my handbag!

In any case, the upshot of it all was that I have now been invited to give a British Psychological Society talk at Bournemouth University early next year, so I am looking forward to that, and to further contact with the nice people who work there!


  1. You are doing really well: I am so happy for you!I hope next year will be even better. I am glad you haven't given up fighting the system and, let's face it, people's mental health is a very interesting subject and a cause worth fighting for.