The death of the high street is everywhere at the moment. House of Fraser is in trouble, and its Birmingham branch, formerly Rackham’s, is one of the stores to close. The Exeter branch, formerly the artist known as Dingles, will stay open, though for how long is hard to tell.
I have a nostalgic fondness for department stores. They remind me of going with my mum to have a toasted teacake in the shop cafe as a treat when I was little. Those moments felt really special, oddly grown up, to be in a cafe just us two. The toasted tea cakes always had a lot of butter on, and the loos had a dated picture of a posing woman on the door and those funny sanitary towel bags on top of the cistern which I was too young to know what to do with, but which I admired for their funny Victorian lady on the front. Continue reading
An article in the Telegraph today interviews Dr Gallagher, a psychiatrist based in the US, all about how he thinks demonic possession is real and exorcism can be helpful.
The article doesn’t give any alternative point of view, or ask Dr Gallagher any particularly challenging questions, so it’s possible to read it and think it’s not that controversial. Continue reading
A new NHS framework promoting health and wellbeing in healthcare staff was launched mid-May.
The investment of time and resource to write this report is to be celebrated. The framework emphasises the importance of NHS staff wellbeing and gives some concrete ideas for improving working conditions and individual skills to cope with difficult work. These have the potential to be helpful.
However, the report ignores one of the key reasons why this document is needed in the first place: funding constraints. Continue reading
Image by Adrian Scottow
It was a Supermoon the other night and I was admiring it and thinking about how the moon looks like it is glowing, when in fact it is reflecting light from the sun.
It made me think about how things are not always what they appear to be, and how it’s possible to view the same thing in different ways, sometimes depending on what other information is available to us. Continue reading
Photo by Ricky Brigante
I’ve been indulging in a guilty pleasure recently: binge-watching The Apprentice. I don’t have a telly and tend not to watch loads, but when I do I really get into it. The Handmaid’s Tale, Bake Off, and now Alan Sugar and his job applicants…
There is something I enjoy about watching the naked ambition and downright competitive nastiness of the candidates. Every series someone says “I’m not here to make friends”, which is blatantly obvious in the scenes in the boardroom where they are all fighting for their place in the competition and passing the blame. Continue reading
I’ve been reminding myself of some of the basics of compassion-focussed therapy recently, and I thought I’d blog about it because we could probably all use a bit of this. Compassion-focussed therapy is a third-wave CBT approach, which means it has grown out of cognitive behavioural therapy even though it looks quite different to traditional CBT. A key part of it involves learning to show more compassion to ourselves as well as others. Continue reading
It smells of back to school today. There is something about the change of season from Summer to Autumn that makes me feel, even in my mid-thirties, that I should be buying a new pencil case and trying on new shoes. Continue reading
Mental health problems are more common amongst city dwellers – but why? Is it the stress? The noise? The lack of green spaces? A study involving scientists from King’s College London, architects from J & L Gibbons, artists from Nomad Projects and design experts from the Van Alen Institute, is trying to find out how the urban landscape affects how we feel. Continue reading
Dr Gemma Modinos, Neuroscientist, speaking at Pint of Science
I went to some great Pint of Science nights recently, the annual festival where scientists give talks in pubs. I saw Professor Jon Cooper speak about his research into Batten’s Disease, Dr Claire Troake describe the Brain Bank where people can donate their brain tissue after death, Dr Gemma Modinos describe her research into social and emotional aspects of psychosis and Dr Nigel Blackwood talk about psychopathic traits. Continue reading
I saw the film Birdman recently, where Michael Keaton’s critical alter ego looms so large as to become quite corporeal (and visually reminiscent of the amazing wings in the Digital Revolution exhibition described below). It got me thinking about the idea of the inner critic, how difficult inner criticism can be to live with, and what solutions contemporary talking therapies have to offer us. Continue reading