Thursday, March 13, 2008

Would the British Psychological Society Like Bacon With the Egg on its Face?

About a year ago, I wrote a bit about the case of British psychologist Lisa Blakemore Brown. She was being prosecuted by the British Psychological Society (BPS) at the time regarding her alleged lack of fitness to practice psychology due to "paranoia." The best source of info on the topic comes from two spots: Aubrey Blumsohn's collected posts at the Scientific Misconduct Blog and a transcript (at Furious Seasons) of a hearing involving the allegations against Blakemore Brown.

It would make sense that a professional society such as the BPS would take action in cases of serious misconduct, such as sexual relations with clients, fraudulent billing practices, or other forms of exploiting one's clientele. It makes much less sense to prosecute an individual on trumped-up charges of mental illness, particularly when a "star witness" is testifying against Blakemore Brown's mental state even though he never interviewed her. In one choice snippet of testimony that I noted several months ago, this witness claimed that if Blakemore Brown has actually experienced a significant degree harassment and persecution, and then responded by becoming fearful and distrusting, she would be deemed paranoid in his judgment. In other words, regardless of circumstances, any type of fearful response to any type of situation, no matter how threatening, is indicative of paranoia. At the time, I wrote:
Hold the train. Seriously, STOP. So even if people really are out to get you, you are paranoid if you believe that people are out to harm you. Apparently the natural response of fear when one is objectively, realistically threatened, is now paranoia.
The BPS has now concluded its so-called investigation with:
The Complaints Committee therefore found no evidence of professional misconduct on your part. The matter is now closed as regards to the Society.
The sham investigation concluded after many years with a finding of not guilty. But what about the cost to Lisa Blakemore Brown, personally, professionally, and financially? I don't know if a protracted apology was included in the findings, though I strongly doubt it. Regardless, no apology can make up for having one's name dragged through the mud, being compelled to attend several sham hearings, and for the tragicomic attempts of the BPS to keep all of this under wraps. As pointed out by Aubrey Blumsohn, it sure is strange that the BPS has the time and resources to pursue cases against practicing psychologists based on sham evidence while it takes a stance of silence on the many issues of scientific and financial malfeasance involving the drug industry discussed on this site and others.

As a disclaimer to my last point, let me again mention that I'm not against the drug industry. I am against the drug industry misrepresenting scientific findings in order to meet its marketing needs. Is that such a crazy position? Am I paranoid?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More bad publicity for the British Psychological Society and another resignation
Cole resigns from BPS

"when I told officials that I was being repeatedly and overtly pressurised to falsify research findings for a public project, I was told that 'we don't give legal advice' and that I should consult the Code of Ethics. Apart from the fact that there is little in the Code of Ethics about corruption, other than an urging of the practitioner to behave professionally, I don't see why some guidance was not forthcoming. I was in touch with members of the BPS with responsibility for regulations and ethics; if all that is necessary is already on the web site, then I think there is a certain amount of redundancy in the organisation."