Born in India in 1948, eldest of four children of a Methodist manse in the united Church of South India, my life was rather dispersed through moves of home and boarding school in India and Southern England, until I emerged apparently unscathed to do medicine at Edinburgh University. Taking the first opportunity to stay in one place and get a life, it has taken me a few more decades to achieve this.
Personally I have benefitted from family life and from settling in one place, and (since 1973) one house and community in Portobello, 'Edinburgh's Seaside'. Both of us have been active in the community, centred initially around a community newspaper produced in our house. My partner is now (unexpectedly until it happened) an effective and leading local politician, helping to bring green, open, and collaborative ways to what has been the more usual political ways! Our two grown up sons have more or less moved out, so we have to learn to make our own noise again!
Professionally, after training in medicine, psychiatry and child psychiatry, I benefitted from team life at my work between 1981 and 2003, an hour's commute away in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, as a consultant child and family psychiatrist. The hour's journey helped provide space for thinking and in many ways helped me to get a life; it has provided my first real pals, all the way to sharing a beer with commuters on Friday nights. For me, getting a life meant commuting by public transport (before I retired from the NHS in April 2003) and discovering a passion for all kinds of social dancing - I spend rather more time dancing and running internet lists for dance networks than for this more professional stuff.
Retirement opened up a whole new world again! I still work one day a week as a Family Therapist in the small team at Couple Counselling Lothian - and a six-day weekend is still not long enough!! I teach Salsa a bit - I should teach more, but I don't like the responsibility, plus I enjoy dancing too much. After celebrating freedom with some jet-setting including to Cuba, I can settle down to other things on my list - including sorting house and websites out!!
Professionally, in Motherwell, I played a determined part in developing an NHS multi-disciplinary egalitarian community-oriented child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) in the 'peripheries of excellence'. It may look much like many other CAMHS, but we had reason to believe we applied skilled ordinariness and a demystified family-systems approach to an extraordinary degree. I have written prolifically on the way to this integrating de-construction - or more accurately - re-construction of the established disciplines of psychiatry, child psychiatry, and other CAMH disciplines, notably social work, psychodynamic psychotherapies, and family therapy. The team has developed in-house guidelines and ways of capturing what is so basic and taken for granted that it is not written about. It is also unfortunately often forgotten. For professionals and public alike, this is made worse by the established and powerful public promotion of mystifying structures, ideas and language. My life can be seen as a sustained career of searching for, engaging respectfully with parent bodies, and then (still respectfully) demystifying what I find. It has also been a search for joy in life, first in helping others to find it (which is an obvious if unusual view of what working in mental health services is about), then helping myself do so. So my professional and personal lives have converged and crossed over.
This site is the publication of much of my and our work around CFC Motherwell. Indeed I went onto the full internet in order to do this rather than have to write a book. My writing is otherwise rather scattered, often written in response to other articles, difficult to access as the integrated system that it is, and many people have asked to get at it. This website is the answer!