How to Use Your Isolation [Advice follows Dedication below. Victim testimonies at bottom of page ]
Bookmark for updates All IW4U publications reduced in price until coronavirus crisis ends THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO UPSTANDERS WHO WHISTLEBLEW THE TRUTH ABOUT AWP 'The past belongs to those who control the present' [George Orwell, 1984]. Read Marianne Richard's expose, 'Evil Psychologist in a Culture of Denial']. For years AWP ignored wrongdoing by biased seniors 'investigating' [sic] the bullying & vile lies of Dr Elizabeth Howells & sycophant, Lead Clinician [sic] Barbara Stapleton. Were it not for coverups by Dr Anne Booth, Christopher Stancliffe & Dr William Jerrom, this clique would have been removed over a decade ago. Instead, a bully culture blighted the lives of staff who helped make Lift Psychology, Swindon, successful [Howells & Stapleton stealing the credit]. InspirationWorks4U.co.uk, under anti bullying campaigner Marianne Richards MSc, battled 16 years to uncover the truth, under threat of financial ruin by AWP's bullish legal team, Bevan Brittan. This is a leit motif for bullying that is rampant in the UK NHS, ruining tens of thousands of lives, costing the NHS £millions in lost careers & legal fees, to say nothing of the human suffering. Nearing the end of a torturous trail, will Marianne's extensive investigation be vindicated? Will this rogue Trust be brought to account? Will the Board take responsibility, apologise & make fair reparation for their failings, lost opportunities & emotional blindness to victims? Bookmark this site for updates.
Seize the day before it goes - Plant an apple tree or rose Sow a garden with latent flowers Find something useful to pass your hours, Lie on the grass, gaze at the night sky Watch the clouds go scudding by; For today is a tomorrow You might never have had So seize the day, use your hours And try to be glad.
USE ISOLATON POSITIVELY If you are unused to being alone for long stretches, days can become a prison. Yet isolation can transform your life. Many long term prisoners discovered this simple truth, turning their lives around. What qualifies me to write about isolation? I am expert by experience. I learned this art through years of isolated anger, despair and discouragement, when I felt unwanted & misunderstood, in a bad marriage, allowing people to misuse my goodwill and latterly being bullied out of my prized career in adult mental health. Right from the tender age of 10, I endured sadness & lack of energy that was wrongly translated as laziness. BUT I was always curious, exploring possibilities from a young age, with an increasingly wide range of captivating interests. Zoom forward 55 years. I am proud of becoming a professional author & anti bullying campaigner. I now use compassion for others and righteous anger to the common good. Thus I discovered through long, often bitter, experiences, how to turn isolation into opportunity. The first step is to love yourself - the rest will surely follow, no matter which path you choose, or what interests you decide to follow. Below are a few tips - see what works for you, but first please consider buying my book, which contains my principles for a contented life:
Finding Time: Time Well Spent is All the Happiness You Need [colour version here] is a practical philosophy exploring Time and how we misuse this precious energy, which is vital for human happiness. My book enables you to re-connect with Time, rather than follow prescriptive time management regimes. Time is more precious than diamonds, yet how often do you give it away? Change your attitude to Time and it changes you - and help you keep the change.
STAY POSITIVE Bear Grylls, ultimate survivor and devout Christian, would agree that staying positive is essential to survival. What you think really does affect how you feel. And how you feel affects your physical, as well as mental, health. I would not have survived if I had not found reasons to carry on, to turn anger and bitterness into learning and purpose. My initial reason was pursuit of justice - then I became a campaigner. This gave a purpose to my suffering. No one can live a meaningful life without purpose - something you do for the community. ANY victim can find courage through the principles described below, and in further detail in my book. This is YOUR chance to discover (or rediscover) meaning in life - a new identity, changing the way you react to loved ones, and how you life, as an individual, part of a family or member of a local community.
DAILY ACTIVITY - Re-evaluation The first step is to list all your activities - ones you do under normal circumstances. Let each member of the family make their own list. There will be a lot of different activities, so take time over this. Next, put each activity under a topic (my book explains in greater detail). Here is an example - try to make as few headings as possible:
chores (washing, recycling, ironing)
duties to others (visiting relatives, caring, recycling)
learning (courses, formal training, things you have always wanted to learn)
belief (religion, spiritual, morals, values)
Many activities will seem trivial but that is not the point. They do not have meaning to anyone except you. Now, re-evaluate every activity - going as far as you want, for example,
if you love ironing, put this under 'leisure';
if you hate exercise, put this under 'chores';
if you enjoy office work, put this under 'leisure;'
if you care for someone you don't like [be honest] put this under 'duty' -
if you do like being with a cared-for person, put this under 'family'.
What have you discovered? Are you surprised at things you consider enjoyable - or not? Have you re-evaluated? Now make a pie chart of each heading - what takes up most of the pie? If a single heading dominates, can you delegate one or more activities to anyone else? When this lock down ends, could you pay someone to do ironing, for example? Can you change your attitude about an activity? Is there another aspect; can you start a new leisure activity, if activity is lacking in your pie? For example, during lock down it is vital to maintain morale, which means keeping your environment clean and tidy. Could chores be divvied out, shared and thus less onerous and more pleasurable?
The vital thing is to do as many topics as possible EVERY DAY - make this a routine. Do not go hell for leather at one activity. Everyone, scientists, film stars, bankers, house-wives,r house-husbands, has to do some dull tasks that form the backbone of all our lives. It is not only pleasurable activity that brings meaning to our lives but continuity.
Daily Tasks Book When you have written your lists and pie charts, you might like to make a Daily Journal of what you do. It is easy, day to day, to get despondent. One day follows the next. You cannot remember what you did yesterday, let alone last week. Life becomes a bore and you become bored or depressed. List everything you do in a daily tasks book or Journal. You might like to alot each topic a symbol or meme. When the task is done, tick it. If an activity is unfinished, add it to the next day. Do not try to do too much, particularly chores and duties, but make sure you do tasks from as many headings as possible, every day. This will balance your life and ultimately give more satisfaction. Each member of the family can have their own book but it might be good to make a family book too. That way, everyone gets duties but also some pleasurable activity; a sense of responsibility and being a full member of the family.
Personal Journal A personal journal is something everyone can do. You do not have to be a great or trained writer. This is the place to get creative - express yourself. It is how I first became a writer, age 10, going to the local park or cemetery, writing poems and ideas in a notebook. You can write whatever you want:
recording the weather
about books you are reading
birds or other wildlife you have seen
what happened to you that day
how you feel that day and why.
plans for your life, things you would like to do in the future
Do Not Envy Others - Be Content So many people with time on their hands and no purpose become moaners or blamers; spreading fake news, creating havoc, gossip-mongering, complaining or worrying what the neighbours are doing. You may envy the life of a film star but would you get up before dawn, spend hours learning scripts, be away from loved ones for months on end - only to be trashed publicly if the film turns out a flop? Do not imagine someone else's life but live your own. You are what you do, ultimately. If you have been a terror or a bully or a shrinking violet, it is time to reconsider who you are, what your life is about and how you are going to spend the Time you have left. We are not here for long - witness the mass graves in New York. It is a sobering but practical wake-up call. Perhaps this will lead to a new and better future - for all of us.
Reframing - Practicing Gratefulness People are discovering things they feared are not so bad; working from home, not having to commute, having time to appreciate nature. If you nave never thought about this before, think about it now.
**************************** Now - are you a victim of NHS Manager bullying? Did you experience mismanagement at Swindon during the time I was at Victoria Hospital? Have you a similar testimony in another NHS environment? Time to turn the tide - add your testimony; help IW4U help current /future victims of bullying, by ensuring preventative measures are implemented. Join IW4U in campaigning for FAIR DEALING for victims of NHS bullying.
TESTIMONY from VICTIMS of mismanagement &r bullyiing at VICTORIA HOSPITAL, SWINDON (Lift Psychology) AVON & WILTSHIRE MH PARTNERSHIP TRUST For evil to exist, it is only necessary for the good to remain silent. Other than whistleblowers, few staff of Victoria Hospital, Swindon (2004 - 6) provided testimony, allowing bullying to continue until at least 2008. It is cowardly to do nothing - this is why bully cultures promulgate. Every bit of information completes the picture, enabling investigations, reducing the opportunity for evidence to be destroyed or tampered with, or a proliferation of biased views by sychophants & rogue seniors when bystanders fail to act.
Add your voice - the next target might be you:
letters of support for victims - being victimized is socially isolating;
defend victims from your experience - slanted images too easily promulgate;
give testimony of malpractice - sociopathic behaviours; bullies enticing sycophants; 'jobs for the boys/girls'
reveal departmental stressors - this is not shameful but vital for anti-bullying intelligence;
remember, bystanders contribute to bully cultures - by allowing false information to circulate
LANDMARKS Successes / Failures:
March 2020 HPC investigating mal practice by AWP Senior Psychologists [report by Marianne Richards]
January 2020 Report to Senior President of Tribunals - AWP as exemplar of bad practice; how HR and external investigatory bodies are influenced by rogue professionals; abuse of law by 'employment legal experts' to prevent victims testifying [62 page report by IW4U + 212 evidence documents]
November 2019 NHS & Parliamentary Ombudsman's Office to discuss lacunas - how HR Departments & external investigatory bodies are influenced by rogue professionals [result of discussion between IW4U & Ombudsman's office]
September 2019 CE Dominic Hardisty refuses MP mediation - Dominic Hardisty previously worked at Oxford Health, where bully-support Dr Anne Booth now works as a Consultant Psychologist
July 2019 AWP HR refuse to investigate another victim complaining of bullying in 2008
July 2019 Questions in House of Commons: shoddy treatment of whistleblowers, despite the new Act **
April 2019 set up of 'NHS Improvement'; clinicians to participate in local accountability [predicted by Marianne Richards in 2007, Uni of Bath student presentation: 'a resume of Dr Susan Parenti's paper on proposed redevelopment of American NHS' @
2017 BANES Commissioners include check-backs in AWP procedures manual # [presentation to BANES Commissioners by Marianne Richards of lacunas in AWP HR systems; evidence of bullying at Dept of Psychology, Victoria Hospital [now Lift Psychology] & Eldene Surgery, Swindon.
2016 AWP set up anti bullying helpline for staff [after extensive lobbying by Marianne Richards]
@ a presentation described to AWP Board, by bully-support Barbara Stapleton, as 'criticising the Trust' # result of Marianne Richards exposing how senior staff of AWP lied about investigations ** The Guardian: 'whistleblowers-need-independent-office-to-protect-them-say-mps' ************************* June 2019 TESTIMONY: FORMER AWP MENTAL HEALTH WORKER [name withheld on request]: "This situation .. does not surprise me; I’ve always thought AWP is too big, is management heavy and reflects the mental disturbance of the people it’s supposed to treat. My own experience of AWP was of weak managers .. I should not have worked for them in the first place."
May 2018 TESTIMONY: HELEN RUDDOCK, former Psychology Assistant, Lift Stress Management, Swindon. [Helen is currently making a formal complaint to AWPHuman Resources Director] "I began working for AWP shortly after having completed my degree in Psychology, at the age of 21. I was based in Swindon and reported to Annette Law and Liz Howells. Three months after starting, I received a diagnosis of epilepsy which rendered my driving licence invalid for at least one year. Notably, one of the ‘essential criteria’ for the AP position was the ability to drive, and so the revocation of my driving licence limited my ability to travel to certain clinics or course locations that were far from my office base. I remember that during one of the first meetings with Liz following my diagnosis, she told me that she would terminate my employment if she could but that disability laws wouldn’t allow it. What followed, I believe, was a series of deliberate and persistent attempts to ‘force’ me to leave by subjecting me to psychological abuse and defamation of my character.
I remember that on one particular occasion, Liz described me as ‘arrogant’ and said (and I recall this verbatim) ‘you’re the lowest of the low, but you just don’t realise it’. The accusation of arrogance was prompted by a group meeting, led by deputy head Annette Law, during which I had asked a question about the division of administrative duties between assistant psychologists and counsellors. Annette appeared to take great offense to what was meant as innocuous question; she threw her papers on the floor and screamed at me not to ask such questions. This event was relayed back to Liz who called me into a meeting to point out my arrogance and ensure that I knew my place in their hierarchy.
While Annette appeared to have difficulty controlling her outbursts of anger (she once got disproportionately aggressive when I sent her a Word document with a blank page at the end), I didn’t get the impression that she wanted to upset others. Liz, on the other hand, would continue to divulge a torrent of psychological abuse even after it was obvious that I was upset. I remember on one occasion being in her office in tears, while she continued to tell me “you’ve failed, Helen. You’ve never failed anything in your life, but now you’ve failed”. My perspective is that Liz enjoyed having control and power over others’ emotions, particularly those that she viewed as being below her status. On this particular occasion, I believe that Liz was deliberately trying to attack what she thought was an insecurity of mine (i.e. fear of failure).
One of Liz’s ways of ensuring that my job was as difficult as possible was to insist that I led all of the computerised cognitive behavioural therapy courses. These courses took place all over Swindon and so I would often need to take two busses to get to the course location, armed with 5 laptops and a box of paperwork. After suggesting that this was a rather stressful task, Liz decided that I should take a taxi instead – she said it would be a breach of health and safety if I were to continue to take the bus with the laptops and box. However, she explained that the taxi would not be covered by expenses – I could claim back only the cost of petrol (~£2) and I had to pay the rest (~£10). There were around 4-5 other Assistant Psychologists working at AWP Swindon at the time, all of whom could have led these courses instead of me. This would make perfect sense given that all of them could drive. However, when one of the APs suggested to Annette that she could lead the sessions, she was told (rather aggressively) never to mention it again.
Perhaps one of the most stressful experiences at AWP was following a complaint from a client in which he claimed that I had told him that my next client was suffering from a flying phobia. Of course, this would be a serious breach of patient confidentiality. However, by showing Liz my client records, I was able to prove that my next client was not receiving treatment for a flying phobia. In fact, none of my current or previous clients had reported a flying phobia. However, Liz dismissed this evidence and instead suggested that my epilepsy had made me say something that I didn’t mean and then made me forget that I had said it. She promptly sent me to occupational health for an assessment who, of course, reported to Liz that this is not a symptom of epilepsy. After receiving the OH report, Liz became extremely angry that I hadn’t insisted that this was one of my symptoms. I am still unsure of Liz’s motivations for obtaining a false report of my epilepsy symptoms. She insisted that she was trying to help, but instead I felt that I was being coerced into falsely reporting that I was psychologically unstable and unpredictable. This could have negatively affected my entire career.
Liz appeared to hold outdated and unfounded beliefs about how my epilepsy would affect my working ability. Despite the OH report, I was subsequently prevented from seeing clients as it was feared that my epilepsy would make me say or do something which would have negative effects on clients. I believe that this was entirely unwarranted; I had received good reviews of the courses that I taught and letters of thanks from clients who I had helped, and yet (as was often the case at AWP) these positive reviews were ignored in favour of unsubstantiated concerns. Even after leaving AWP, Liz’s ableist attitudes were demonstrated when she telephoned a potential new employer to advise them not to hire me because I have epilepsy. I got the job despite this, as my new employer was aware that controlled epilepsy (like mine) would not affect my working ability, and believed that Liz had provided an unfair reference.
While I sometimes wish that I had spoken out at the time about the bullying, I was unsure about who I could have gone to for unbiased support. Many of my colleagues were all too aware of Liz’s overly critical management style but felt similarly powerless to do anything about it. Liz had many ‘supporters’ who would defend her (Barbara Stapleton, Veronica Barnes, Annette Law), perhaps out of fear of losing their own jobs. However, I am convinced that anyone who has worked closely with Liz will know that our reports of bullying are truthful. Liz’s ‘management’ approach is to belittle and entice fear in her employees, and I am concerned that she will continue to cause detriment to the confidence of aspiring clinical psychologists and counsellors. It is therefore vital to ensure that potential victims of bullying can report their experiences to unbiased mediators without fear of reprimand and further abuse. Given recent media reports of bullying within the NHS, I believe that your campaign for fair dealing should be made a priority.
Please feel free to pass this letter to anyone who may be able to help with your case. I hope that it will help to substantiate your claims, and to persuade AWP senior management to apologise and admit wrongdoing. Unfortunately, I know that we are not the only ones to have endured psychological abuse from Liz Howells and, through publicising our own experiences, I hope that other people will feel supported to come forward. Helen Ruddock
ADDENDUM - by email "I came across a document online that was about [Marianne's] case (I think it was the 'dignity at work' report ?) and I couldn't believe what I was reading and how they make Liz out to be the victim. I read how Barbara had said that [Marianne would] "contradict her in meetings" - she had said the exact same about me (she must have some deep-seated issues about being contradicted or something). Veronica's statements are absolutely ludicrous too, saying how Liz was so approachable and good to her staff - pretty sure none of the Assistant Psychs would agree with that! It really is shocking. "