Enjoyable music vs Expressive music?

face the music

During music therapy sessions I regularly find myself thinking about the quality and purpose of the music we play. Particularly if there are tears or laughter during or between songs.

Group members often display enthusiasm during a song: they express themselves loudly or quietly, vocally or with an instrument. Sometimes a group member cries, though if they’re not able to use words it’s not possible to know why. At other points they smile or laugh as our eyes meet during the music.

These points of expression feel more important to me than the times of enjoyment! Staff or parents often talk about enjoying the music, and I know what they mean. Without some amount of joy, the time may be harder to bear. But, I suppose enjoyment is a side-effect or added bonus. Most of the time I focus on supporting people to express themselves through the music, and enabling…

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Let us be kind to one another even when views may differ

Hole Ousia

A few days ago I shared this post with the President of the College I have been a member of for over 20 years.

Today I received this e-mail, marked “High importance” from the “HR Department” of the Royal College of Psychiatrists which has left me upset:

This was the e-mail that I sent (in which I had copied in Professor David Baldwin, Chair of the RCPsych Psychopharmacology Committee):

I shared with Professor Wendy Burn one other e-mail. I included several other UK senior psychiatrists in this e-mail as it was  simply a link to this update on a Sunshine Act for Scotland (on the 2nd anniversary since the Scottish public were consulted on it).

I will of course respect Professor Burn’s request. But let us be kind to one another even if we may have different views.  Please.

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A one-man peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament

Hole Ousia

Today, I have sent the following letter to the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland:

Monday 19th March 2018

Dear Dr Calderwood,
A Sunshine Act for Scotland
I wanted to let you know that I am going to make a one-man, peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament this Thursday the 22nd March 2018.

The 22nd March 2018 will mark two years to the day since my petition for a Sunshine Act was closed. The petition closed on a most positive finding: that the Scottish public, in an official consultation (by the Scottish Health Council) concluded that declarations of competing interests should be mandatory and recorded centrally in an open register.

The Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee approached my petition with great care, thoroughness and thoughtfulness and I want to put on record my appreciation of this. I have also had some wonderful support from Scottish parliamentarians, both current and retired, and…

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A Sunshine Act for Scotland

Hole Ousia

On Thursday 22 March 2018 I will be making a peaceful protest outside the Scottish Parliament, two years to the day that my petition for a Sunshine Act for Scotland was closed.

But what is a "Sunshine Act"? And what is the story behind it?

In September 2013 I submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Government to introduce a Sunshine Act for Scotland.

I have worked as a doctor for NHS Scotland for over 25 years and it was his concern that marketing by commercial sector (pharmaceutical industry, device makers, imaging technologies) was routinely part of continuing medical education. Research has conclusively demonstrated that competing financial “conflict of interest” can affect the treatment decisions doctors recommend and that exposure to industry promotional activity can lead to doctors recommending worse treatments for patients.

In the early stages of the petition, when evidence was being gathered, the…

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Clinical Governance of NHS Scotland

Hole Ousia

This roundtable session included the following:

Having watched this roundtable session on Clinical Governance of NHS Scotland I sent the following submission. It has been published Wednesday on the Scottish Parliament website:

29 November 2017

Dear Health and Sport Committee,
Roundtable session on clinical governance in NHS Scotland (28 November 2017)

I watched this roundtable session after work on parliament tv:

I thought that there were many excellent contributions and I commend the committee for facilitating such breadth of consideration.

I am aware of how much material you have to consider so I will keep these personal observations brief. I have three areas of thought but realise my voice is just a tiny part of the more important wider community. I write as I am a doctor who has worked in NHS Scotland for 25 years and who has championed ethical considerations.

1. I thought that the contributions from the Scottish…

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What use are Human Rights If you cannot exercise them?


Fpexels-photo-208494.jpegFrom birth, my life has been inextricably linked with human rights issues/abuses.  But what I have come to realise is What use are rights if you cannot exercise them?

I come from a background of abuse, torture, and despair.  I was born after a sham marriage of convenience, abandoned by my mother to be brought up my ageing grandparents.  I experienced sexual abuse from being five years old right through to my teens.  I didn’t go to school, I was kept away from other children and subject to racist abuse, psychological torture and neglect.  I put on weight to stop the abuse from happening to make me less of a target.  I didn’t wash. I had never played as a child and had no social skills.  I was unable to interact. I was an empty shell of a human being.  A non-person. Yet it didn’t stop.   Eventually I was…

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