England: Clinic for Dissociative Studies

Update: 9-19-14. This post is being reviewed for accuracy.

I began writing this post with the intent to report on the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in England. As I got deeper into their website checking the credentials of the employees, questions piled up and I am left wondering about those who operate this facility and the quality of patient care.

I kept finding meaningless phrases on their website describing credentials of Clinic practitioners:

  • psychotherapist
  • worked as
  • worked with
  • studied at
  • experienced in
  • trained in

I am most concerned with the “psychotherapist” designation without any professional and/or educational degrees or credentials listed. All of these phrases are meaningless. If individuals held degrees and/or certifications, we can assume they would be listed.

It appears many “practitioners” at this institution are indeed uneducated and do not hold degrees or certifications from institutions of higher learning in psychiatry and/or psychology. In the absence of such advanced learning it appears that the Clinic for Dissociative Studies employs “psychotherapists” with dubious educational backgrounds. The Clinic, therefore, may rely heavily on prior work history and/or personal interests of employees rather than educational expertise. I am inclined to believe people want others to know they hold advanced degrees or training. This, in my opinion, can be deceiving and confusing to those seeking mental health care. Psychiatric slogans and psychobabble are rife on this website.

What insight does this offer the public about the diagnosis and treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder? What type and quality of professional treatment is offered those who believe they have multiple personalities/alter selves/ or internal parts? It seems clear that patients paying to receive treatment at this facility may, or may not, be receiving care from practitioners with educational credentials. but rather – “worked with” or “trained as” status. Hum.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is big business. Treatment is known to be long and arduous. Who is actually providing day-to-day care?Doctors or laypersons with experience?

Who is listed on the billing for reimbursement? – the non-professional or the doctor? You decide.

~~~~~~~~

From the Clinic for Dissociative Studies website:

Assessment, Treatment and Training

The Clinic for Dissociative Studies was set up with the aid of the Tavistock and Portman  NHS Trust in 1998. It is one of the few national centres of specialist expertise in the care and treatment of people with dissociative disorders.

As an Independent Provider to the NHS it is commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups, former PCTs, mental health trusts and local authorities nationally to provide diagnosis, outpatient treatment, clinical supervision and training.

The Clinic is currently supporting research work undertaken by University College London and the University of Essex. Members of the Clinic Faculty will in 2012 be lecturing in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Germany, France, Portugal and all over the UK.

The Clinic does not treat patients privately but only via NHS referral (see ‘What we do‘ for more information).

Dissociative disorders, in particular dissociative identity disorder (DID), arise in response to extreme trauma and abuse (see ‘About DID‘ for more information).

Treatment options can vary depending on a range of factors, including the severity of the trauma experienced and whether abuse is still continuing. The Clinic for Dissociative Studies specialises in providing psychotherapy for individuals, couples and families on an intensive or non-intensive basis. Treatment is provided by experienced senior psychotherapists with specialist experience in working with dissociative disorders (see ‘About us‘), and can be supported by a range of other therapies if required

About our staff

  • Valerie Sinason, PhD, PGTC, MAACP, Director
  • Cate Potter, BA DipHE, Mental Health Nursing – Case & Referrals Manager

Assessment and Research Specialist Consultants [1],[2]

  • Dr Raj Attavar – consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist; specialist – disability and dissociation.
  • Dr Arnon Bentovim – consultant child psychiatrist, family therapist and adult psychoanalyst. He is an international expert on child abuse.
  • Professor Brett Kahr – assessments for couples
  • Dr Susan McPherson – independent research consultant
  • Dr Phil Mollon – consultant psychologist, psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst; specialist in PEP.
  • Professor John Morton – conducts memory research on amnesia between alter-personalities.

SCID-D assessments are also carried out by Graeme Galton & Adah Sachs.

Consultant Psychotherapists[3]

  • Adah Sachs – specialist.. working with severe self-harm; a psychotherapist and supervisor at the Clinic; in private practice
  • Alan Corbett trained[4] at the Guild of Psychotherapists; trained in Forensic Psychotherapy & Child Psychotherapy; private practice; is experienced in[5]  helping people with a range of emotional difficulties connected with such issues as stress, anxiety, bereavement, gender dysfunction, sexuality, ageing [sic], body image, sexual abuse and other trauma.
  • Lynn Greenwood – psychotherapist – interest in adolescents and adults who exhibit behaviours that are destructive; consultant psychotherapist for several television programmes.
  • Shahnawaz Haque – psychotherapy training and experience; worked in the world of finance, and currently continues to be closely involved in the running of a Mosque, and in teaching Arabic and aspects of Islam to adults and children.
  • Liz Lloyd – consultant psychotherapist in private practice
  • Lesley McGown – Relational Integrative Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor; experience in working with severe trauma.
  • Rachel Wingfield-Schwartz – worked with[6] trauma and dissociation.
  • Julian Turner works for MIND; in private practice; worked with people with dissociative disorders for over 20 years.
  • Ina Walker worked as a nurse in oncology; retrained, gaining a psychosocial degree at UEL; training in Infant and Young Child Observations at the Tavistock Clinic; qualify as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist; gained experience in severe trauma; individual and couple therapist; has a private practice.
  • Judy Williams MA, MACP, DipCOT is a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist, registered; registered occupational therapist; provide packages of care and treatment for individuals with dissociative disorders,.. associated complex needs and intellectual (learning) disability. She has an independent practice in Manchester and offers psychotherapy assessment and treatment for adults, adolescents and children.

Adjunct Clinicians, Therapists and Counsellors

  • Zoe Hawton – works with children and adults with dissociative identity disorder using creative arts as well as verbal treatment.
  • Dr Nikki Scheiner, consultant psychologist and psychotherapist who uses CAT as well as other methods including sensory-motor.
  • Sue Cook –  from TAG
  • Sue Cross – from TAG
  • ther colleagues from TAG.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • No address listed
  • No post box listed.
  • No business hours listed.
  • No fees listed.

[1]The Clinic for Dissociative Studies lists the consultants as “Dr” which suggests “doctor” however, no other information is available from the website. Dr. designation can indicate medical doctor, a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), or a doctor of art history for all we know. Readers are forced to do their own research into the backgrounds of these individuals OR take the Clinic’s word for it that they indeed hold degrees appropriate to the services rendered.

[2] The requirements for “expert” and the designation of “expert” are non-existent. An expert is an expert because they say they are an expert – or others deem him or her to be an expert.

[3] “Psychotherapist” is not an advanced degree. Anyone, in the United States for example, can claim to be a “psychotherapist”; there is no educational requirement for a “psychotherapist”. Again, the public must do their own research on these individuals.

[4] “Trained in” : this phrase does not indicate a degree or certification was obtained. It simply means a person attended a particular institution of study or was mentored under someone considered an “expert” in a particular field. This term can be misleading.

[5] “Experienced in” is a phrase that does not indicate anything. We are all “experienced in” something. This term is sometimes used to enhance past work-related areas where a degree or specialized training is absent. This term can be misleading.

[6] “Worked with” is a phrase indicates just that: worked with. This term is sometimes used to enhance past work-related areas where a degree or specialized training is absent. This term can be misleading.

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51 Comments

  1. Sheila

     /  01/01/2017

    Hi I read your writing about the great so called experts in that clincal ‘ me I live in Ireland ‘ bad look really some one has remy Aqurine do one of his assessments on me in a hotel room ‘ also the treatment person was Connected to some of the people you mention

    Anyway I did not no about this ‘ but well their assessments are dangerous with in about a hour and a half remy Aqurine had me diagnosed with disassociation identity Disorder And much more all based on his perception
    He no past medical history Or mental history ,

    Of course the treatment person Alrady had been messing around ‘ one of the so called experts ‘ what that organisation Your regarding to in your writing are very dangerous people ‘ they are more like a controlling Cult ‘ use their great Manipulation skills on Atteachment them they mess around in their researching ‘ of course making also a lot of money ‘ in the uk they managed to get the Nhs to support clients to go to them ‘ they even help the client try get the founding by telling them what to do .

    Then the nhs seem in the uk to be giving them the founding ‘ in lots of case as their is no real mental health service in most of Europe ‘ the likes of remy Aqurine and Valerie sinason seen the Opportunity to convince the NGOs to give them some support in what their doing ‘ clearly the nhs did this as they convinced them they save them money by dong their treatment ‘ these people are not safe and play with vulnerability of lovely services they are extremely dangerous and they I’m sure are being let mess around their sick people and just egos and hit on Ida’s and seem a Maeket ‘them they have you labelled and they make sure when you tell some one what their doing they say you can’t remember as you have disassociation identity disorder . Or their Ida’s if a Client says theirs somting wrong our side their Circle they say and have others belting then saying its a defence the Clint putting walls up against them their like a cult and me they destroyed me the likes of remy Aqurine and the other in their Society , and more worrying is their getting away with it

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thank you for your post, Sheila. The voices of people who actually have experience with people like this needs to be presented to the public. Only people like you can do this. I wasn’t there. All I can do is report on what seems “unusual” or if it seems like transparency is illusive to them.

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    • I hear you. It’s scary out there. Glad to know you figured out what I call a unwitting scam. At least back in 1986. As more and more information & former patients came forward with complaints – their behavior did not change. I believe the only thing that slowed them down is lawsuits. Then they changed the illness to DID and it helped them dissociate from the MPD label that was crushing them.

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  2. C

     /  11/14/2015

    I find this post at best bemusing and at worst completely inaccurate and misleading. I have done research on many of the doctors and therapists at this clinic and they are, in many cases, highly respected clinicians who have published widely on the effects of trauma and dissociation. Dr Valerie Sinason herself was a consultant at the Tavistock for many years before setting up the clinic for dissociative studies after understanding the need for a specialist service for those who have suffered severe and early developmental trauma. Professor Brett Kahr is Senior Clinical Research Fellow in psychotherapy and mental health at the Centre for Child Mental Health London and is linked to the University of Oxford and Yale and has worked in mental health since 1978. Dr Arnon Bentovim is a psychiatrist who has worked at Great Ormand Street Hospital and the Tavistock and is visiting professor the Royal Holloway College. I could go on but you get the idea. As for the time scale for treatment that has been mentioned in previous comments (with the suggestion that they extend this for their own financial gain!) this clinic follows international guidelines as set out by the ISSTD which states that dissociative disorders require around five years of treatment due to the severity of the abuse suffered early in life. On a purely personal note I have had the privilege of contact with this clinic due to my own dissociative disorder and have found them highly professional as well as up to date with cutting edge research on DID. I do agree with the comment that suggests this post is fuelled by anger. Anger is healthy of course, as is questioning (how many times do we unquestioningly follow a doctor’s recommendations?) however there seems to be very little actual research that has gone into this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments, but I disagree with your assessment of the people you mentioned. In some cases they are not highly respected people as you believe and their research results have been debunked or unable to be replicated – which is a hallmark of sloppy research.

      Lastly, the ISSTD publishes questionable articles & “research”. If you look closely, you will find that much of it is by the same people over and over.

      Many ISSTD statements were found erroneous & have also been debunked. Many professional members have been sued for medical malpractice. Bennett Braun, M.D., lost his licence.

      This blog is informational only. No research is conducted here nor will you find any evidence or facts to back the statements you made.

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  3. The “spotlight” on this clinic isn’t nearly bright enough.
    As long as no questions are asked, no complaints are made, all is well.
    I can catagorically state that some of the “therapists” are as qualified as I am, and that is not at all!
    Dr. VS is not in fact a doctor of medicine, nor is she a doctor of psychiatry. Her qualifications are easily verified if you ask the appropriate governing bodies.
    The clinic is interested only in prolonging “treatments” and lying and deceiving in order to do so.
    If a complaint against either the clinic or one of it’s staff is lodged, there is no such thing as an independent investigation process.
    The clinic “investigates” itself and not surprisingly the final decision about a complaint lies with… Dr. VS!
    There is collusion to the point where clients are being put at even higher risk.
    The clinic prides itself on there being “no suicides” since it opened. It doesn’t however mention any suicide attempts!
    This clinic should be on borrowed time as they are nothing but a group of money hungry individuals who only care about the £ signs and not the people who go there hoping for help.

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  4. Anon

     /  09/18/2014

    The Clinic for XXXXX Studies needs to be thoroughly investigated, as it is a fact that they do employ therapists who have no qualifications whatsoever, and use irrelevant titles for themselves that are neither accurate or truthful.
    A lot of collusive behaviour is going on behind the mask of being a “Centre of excellence”.
    So what if Dr.XXXXX has written books? That hardly means that she is qualified to do the work she sets herself up to be “one of the world’s leading experts” in!
    These are people’s lives that they are playing at being able to fix, and it is hardly surprising that “treatment” takes so long if you look at exactly what kind of monatery sum they charge the NHS for “treating” a patient.
    It is sad that people truly believe they will be helped here, when in fact, they are in many cases being made worse and are never allowed to become well, as that would not be financially beneficial for the Clinic or the staff who work there.

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    Reply
    • Hello, Anon.

      Your post is quite interesting. You say, “… it is a fact that they do employ therapists who have no qualifications whatsoever…”. How do you know this? I hear you, but cannot agree or disagree with an opinion; all I can do is acknowledge it.

      What your post addresses, however, is what I think as a universal problem with psychotherapy. The American, and perhaps the UK, delivery of patient mental-health care needs improvement. I think your point about hiring people with murky credentials has to stop. As does the ability to sell psychological treatment offered by non-professionals without full-disclosure. All mental health care providers need education prior to performing their jobs, IMO. In areas where credentials are not needed, patients have the right to know who their caretakers are and what credentials they possess, if any, prior to engaging in therapy.

      I often wonder what it will take before these issues are addressed worldwide. How many kids have to be murdered in the school yard? How many more cinema patrons will be killed while enjoying a film before there is free mental-health care for all? The only answer I have is to keep talking and moving in that direction.

      I’m an optimist and believe if we work together, we’ll make changes – no matter what aspect of patient care interests us. You seem passionate and I hope you are involved in change somewhere.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Best.

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    • A former client

       /  09/24/2014

      Hello Anon,

      Do you know anything about the Clinic for XXXXX Studies? It’s history for example?

      VS was a leading Child and Adult Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust – one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of psychological interventions and talking therapies.

      CDS was set up with the help and funding support of the Tavistock specifically to deal with Dissociative patients. This move was taken as a result of work undertaken at the Tavistock which showed highly dissociated survivors did not respond to their usual gamut of therapies and that a new approach was needed.

      This approach emerged from VS’s work at the Tavistock and so the Clinic was launched with their support. There are few, if any, more august institutions in the field than the Tavistock.

      Your basic premise about the Clinic not having an interest in making people well is completely misplaced. Yes therapy takes a long time: if a child is raped for the first ten years of their lives it may well take that long to get the broken child inside to trust their therapist.

      The greatest fault in your argument is down to how NHS funding works. Most clients at the clinic are funded for 3 months or 6 months at a time – this means they are constantly re-traumatised by worries over continuation of therapy that slows the therapeutic process at best and, when funding is not renewed, stops it completely.

      This is all a part of the great debate currently underway about the woefully inadequate provision for mental health and talking therapies in the UK. Additionally the whole subject of abuse, dissociation and therapy is an emerging discipline – quite in it’s infancy.

      It seems your post is fuelled by anger and I hope you can turn that to a positive end. I agree with Jeanette that there is reason to be optimistic, work together and aim for quality MH interventions to be available widely.

      Kind regards,

      M

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      Reply
      • Hello M, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I redacted the full name of VS. As we investigate mental health care with an eye on future projects, we need to find out why some people are irreversibly damaged at the same facility loved by others. Maybe you can help me with this. Best.

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