Yesterday an upbeat ‘business as usual’ letter arrived inviting me to vote (again!) for the 2021-2022 President. Many BPS members had done exactly this one year ago electing Nigel MacLennan who ran on a manifesto promising change and accountability at the BPS. Following his election Nigel was so enthusiastic and committed that individuals in the ‘BPS Establishment’ complained. In a clandestine process he was found to have breached membership rules and expelled – a decision that was announced with huge media fanfare including a YouTube clip in spite of this prejudicing an impending appeal hearing opportunity.
The past president David Murphy had resigned early in the year citing governance concerns and Hazel McLaughlin cut her tenure short citing family health issues. So, no elected leader at the BPS helm! The BPS Finance Director left under a cloud, the CEO has been on extended leave for many months and Leicester police are investigating a former BPS employee regarding fraud allegations. You can read about this sad state of affairs at the informative BPS Watch site:
Many BPS members are disgruntled. Some are voting with their feet not renewing their membership. I personally decided to stop after 15 years all volunteering activities as the BPS Research Board decided to prematurely close the Memory-Based Evidence (MBE) task and finish group (which had only been convened in January 2020), against the wishes of the group members, in Autumn 2020.
Research Board chair Prof Daryl O’Connor and Dr Lisa Morrison-Coulthard, who recommended closure of the group, were previously members of the group developing the 2008 ‘Memory and the law’ guidelines under the ‘(mis)leadership’ of Prof. Martin Conway who in 2011 joined the academic advisory board of the British False Memory Society (BFMS). They presided over three unsuccessful attempts to produce a more balanced document that incorporates trauma-informed perspectives!
British Psychological Society faces Charity Commission probe amidst Backlash over Closure of Memory-Based Evidence Group
I had the misfortune to encounter Peter Branney in his role as Standing Conference Chair for the 2017 Annual Conference in Brighton. Following an inter-disciplinary symposium ‘Psychological Perspectives on the Assessment of Dyslexia’ in 2016 at the 10th International Conference of the BDA in Oxford I had successfully convened a symposium ‘Trauma, Dissociation & Healing’. In the run up to the event I asked speakers to send me their slides for review. When I then circulated revised slides to the speakers one individual got concerned about the graphic nature of another speaker’s slides featuring toddler abuse and symptoms of extreme abuse. Rather than engaging in a constructive dialogue to further tone down materials or withdrawing from the symposium, the concerned speaker orchestrated behind my back a campaign whipping up half a dozen individuals that ultimately led to Peter Branney cancelling my symposium. What about academic freedom and due process?
The ‘concern’ was that a delegate may be triggered (‘You cannot be sure that no one in the audience has not been sexually abused as a child’). US Clinical Psychologist Dr Ellen Lacter, the globally leading expert practitioner and activist on extreme abuse, kindly sent a letter of support to the BPS President at the time (which helped to bring about the MBE group).
Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) in Berne, Kingston-upon-Thames, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Westminster and Hampstead
At the ESTD 2017 conference in Bern I provided an overview of the above issues where slide 24 featured the action of Peter Branney who in the election pamphlet states: ‘I offer, in the role of President, to take my small part in constructively and diligently governing the BPS.’
In my view BPS publications and policies have since Summer 1995 been unduly biased towards positions of the ‘False Memory’ lobby which in turn obfuscates child sexual abuse by relentlessly casting doubt on the memory of complainants while suppressing research and criminal evidence concerning extreme abuse.
Prof Jane Ireland (2012) had highlighted that 2/3 of psychological assessment reports trawled from UK Family Courts were ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. The BPS guidelines developed in response addressed some basic issues but failed to even mention the epidemic of so-called ‘personality disorders’ found in biological parents that – unlike medical diseases – have no scientific test and are essentially social constructions as Prof. Peter Kindermann outlined in his publications. The guidelines also failed to guard against the risk of ‘false positives’ i.e. erroneously concluding that biological parent are ‘delusional’ when they report dastardly child sexual abuse crimes. Courageous members of the BPS South-West Branch published my article on the topic, and I made 30+ conference presentations on the topic including a paper on HCPC failures:
In my view the BPS keeps perpetuating a Discourse of Disbelief regarding child sexual abuse (CSA) and extreme abuse (that cause dissociative symptoms & disorders) continuing a very long tradition in mainstream Psychiatry and Psychology. I received last week a brief reply from the Charity Commission that my submission a few months ago was ‘put on file’ and that I should engage (again!) with the BPS complaints process. I have to say ‘no thanks’ to that. I have no confidence whatsoever in the BPS at present and do not want to end up being harassed by lawyers paid from BPS membership subscriptions, getting expelled from the BPS or sharing the fate of Robert Firth (who as it seems paid dearly for standing up against obfuscation of CSA).