Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

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Re: Therapy/Therapists media portrayal and Emma Kenny

Post by HedleyLamarr » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:01 pm

Realmind wrote:I am the expert forensic psychologist commenting on the offenders and Emma comments on the victims. This is something she is qualified to do.
I haven't seen the programme, however Emma Kenny certainly comments on the offenders in her interview on the website for the show:
Are there any themes apparent in the series?
The main theme that we see unfold in the series is the profile similarities of the perpetrators, the egocentric and selfish personal traits that each of the criminals display.

What are the common psychological reasons for people committing crimes as seen in the series?
In these cases, all are motivated by power. All involved men exerting control over vulnerable women, resulting in tragic consequences. It's clear that the killers were concerned only about their own personal worlds and sense of ownership over their victims. This level of narcissism is rare, but is exhibited by all the perpetrators.

Crimes committed by teenagers such as Joshua Davies or David Jaggers tend to shock us more than adult crimes. What influences do you think are contributing to crime in young people?
Young people are less likely to have consequential thinking and therefore may act in an immediate way without considering the after effects. What is shocking in these cases is the level of pre-meditation that occurred before the crimes were committed. Both these cases show psychopathic behaviour with no regard or care for their victims’ lives, personalities, relationships or dignity. These traits see perpetrators lack empathy, which enables them to act outside of moral codes and boundaries.
In both cases we have no evidence of any terrible traumas occurring in either killers’ childhoods, and this compounds the difficulty in understanding the motivation within these crimes.

Do you think that the parents of a teen can ever be blamed for a crime at such a young age?
I believe that the way we are brought up has a direct impact on who we become. That noted, many people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years have experienced the most terrible traumas, abuse and family experiences, yet they are caring, warm and moral people.
Parenting plays a role in criminal behaviour, but to see that as the main cause is short sighted. Young people can have the best parents in the world and carry out terrible crimes. Peer groups, mental health issues, media influence and genetic predisposition can all affect behaviour.
And her answer to the opening question of the interview fails to make it clear that she is not a psychologist:
Why did you decide to pursue a career in psychology?
As a child, I remember being fascinated by the differences and similarities between people. Human beings, for me, are intricate webs of emotion, connection, physiology, spirituality and shades of good and bad. Working in therapeutic intervention has allowed me to be part of another person’s journey of discovery in understanding these shades.
Realmind wrote:I am the expert forensic psychologist
I wonder if working in such a public way with someone who is alleged to have misrepresented themselves as an expert psychologist results in reputational damage?
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Re: Therapy/Therapists media portrayal and Emma Kenny

Post by lakeland » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:39 am

Aargh this story (see below) has irritated me for many reasons but mostly because the parents are referred to as psychologists. I know they have PhDs and techincally are psychologists, but it annoys me that people might think that this or this is the type of work we do!

Also, neither are registered with the HCPC or any recognisable professional body, but are working with some pretty complicated stuff. It's really frustrating that we're powerless to do anything about this.

Highlight for story:Meet Britain's pushiest parents: Vibrating boots to boost 10-year-old Aliyah's brain, cabbage juice by the gallon and homework by stopwatch. Will this couple's bizarre regime create a genius?
Aliyah Garfield's parents have devised special routine to boost her brain: 10-year-old follows a study and exercise programme fuelled by special diet. Already has an IQ of 135, a prodigious memory and can do complex maths. Shoshana and Sasha are convinced their daughter is brighter than Einstein.

The first clue that ten-year-old Aliyah Garfield’s upbringing is a little different from that of most children her age is the exercise bar across the doorway between the kitchen and living room of her family’s modest home in Hove, East Sussex.
Aliyah dangles from it, straining to do her seventh chin-up.
‘Come on, sweetie,’ her mother shouts encouragingly. ‘Dig deep.’
At least she gets a reward at the end of her workout: a cabbage juice followed by some studying — which her mother times with a stopwatch, to make sure she doesn’t give up a second early.

There is method to this madness, of a sort. For Aliyah’s parents have convinced themselves that their daughter is a genius, and are leaving nothing to chance in ensuring that she reaches her full potential.
‘Raising a kid is like raising a well-bred horse,’ her father Sasha says sternly.
Convinced that Aliyah has a bright future, he and his wife Shoshana have devised a special regimen to enhance her ferocious brainpower.
For Aliyah, this means a regimented study and exercise schedule, fuelled by a gluten-free ‘Ayurvedic’ diet — which means she exists on vegetables, yoghurt, chicken and rice, and drinks vegetable juice until it’s coming out of her ears. When she’s not studying, her day is filled with alternative therapies and regular ‘family meetings’ in which her study schedule is examined with intense fervour and noted on a clipboard.
Then there are her cyberkinetic kinesiology sessions, a mind-boggling alternative therapy which apparently uses vibrations to rebalance the body’s energy levels.
It involves Shoshana taking her daughter to a therapist, where she lies on a bed. Her feet are placed in a pair of vibrating boots while a therapist asks her to unlock her anxieties. Shoshana and Sasha firmly believe that this will help her to achieve her full potential.

Aliyah’s extraordinary ability — she has an IQ of 135, a prodigious memory and can do complex multiplication without batting an eyelid — is highlighted in a Channel 4 documentary series, Child Genius, in which 20 gifted children between the ages of seven and 11 compete for the title of Britain’s brightest child. Shoshana is the only person to bring her juicer to the competition to ensure that her daughter’s brainpower is not compromised by any sudden vitamin deficiency.
Perhaps the most terrifying round is the memory test, in which each child is given two decks of cards in random sequence to memorise. One child gets 87 before slipping up. Aliyah gets only six before she makes a mistake and is clearly upset at her error. ‘She knows she’s let herself down,’ Shoshana says afterwards — and later insists on her daughter replaying the test on camera back at home. Shoshana, a 46-year-old psychologist, insists that this approach isn’t the least bit cruel or over-the-top. Rather, it’s essential if you want to raise a gifted child. ‘Most parents don’t come close to realising their children’s potential,’ she declares. ‘We’re sold this lie that being a mother or a father is instinctive and it’s not. The human species does not parent instinctively — we need some help. ‘You only need to look at our daughter to see what we’re talking about. The very focused strategies and the discipline have definitely paid off. The efforts we put in help her punch above her weight.’

Being a genius isn’t all plain sailing on the friends front, though. Aliyah is already two years ahead of other children her age at school, and it comes as no great surprise that she has trouble relating to her peers. ‘Kids her own age don’t want to talk about cosmology and science, while teenagers are too old for her. So it’s been difficult for her to find friends,’ Shoshana admits. Shoshana — whose own IQ is apparently a staggering 172 — isn’t one of them. As far as she is concerned her daughter’s intellectual prowess runs in the family, though she points out that she is even ‘smarter’ than Aliyah.
‘We’re technically all three of us geniuses — that’s not bragging, that’s just the way it is,’ she declares. ‘One of the first books I can remember reading was Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams. I was eight. I had a dictionary next to me to help me understand it, but I was totally fascinated.’ Shoshana says Aliyah has been displaying signs of heightened intelligence since babyhood. ‘She could pick out words before she even knew the alphabet,’ she recalls.
‘We taught her signing, which meant that long before she was one she could sign for milk or a nappy change or make the sign for a bird in the sky. She loved trains and by two she could draw a picture of tracks, wheels and a carriage in a recognisable form. Anxious to give her daughter the best possible start, she enrolled her in a playgroup at three months old. When it came to moving her to a nursery at three, Shoshana found it didn’t meet Aliyah’s ‘skill set’.
Instead, when she was still just three, Aliyah was enrolled at kindergarten — where, alas, it was only two weeks before it became clear that her new class did not appreciate her gifts, either. ‘One of them told us she seemed a bit slow,’ Shoshana recalls. ‘We switched schools pretty quickly. I mean, both her parents have PhDs. We know how to raise a kid.’

By this point Shoshana and Aliyah’s natural father, an engineer whom Shoshana met at a wedding, had separated — he now has no involvement in his daughter’s life — and Shoshana had embarked on a relationship with Dr Sasha Mitrofanov, a 35-year-old Russian psychologist who settled in the UK 14 years ago. He is raising Aliyah as his own, and shares the same parenting philosophies as Shoshana. ‘We’re both on totally the same page,’ Shoshana declares firmly. And what a page: for after enrolling Aliyah in her third successive school, Shoshana and Sasha threw their energies into drawing up a regimen for her to maximise her potential.

It is, Shoshana explains, a ‘holistic’ approach, aimed at addressing every part of her daughter’s needs, whether physical, emotional or intellectual. Just hearing about it is exhausting: after she gets home from school Aliyah has a 20-minute study session before dinner, followed by another 45 minutes of study afterwards. In the run-up to the Child Genius competition this was escalated to 90 minutes a night and four hours daily at weekends, divided between Shoshana, who oversees English and other ‘creative’ subjects, and Sasha, who is in charge of maths, science and arts and crafts. Recently Shoshana has identified Aliyah’s gift for musical composition, which she expresses in her piano practice.
Then there’s the fortnightly writing group with other children, at which she is given a subject to explore, not to mention the thrice-weekly jiu-jitsu martial arts classes — supplemented, of course, by sessions on that pull-up bar to improve her overall strength.

At weekends the trio go for a three-mile ‘family run’ — designed, says Shoshana, to show her daughter the virtues of persistence. What happens if she refuses? ‘Unless she really feels unwell we’d talk her into a yes. She doesn’t always like the juices but she genuinely recognises that they are for her benefit. They’re not as bad as the cod liver oil I had to take.’ Perhaps not surprisingly there is no television in their house, though Aliyah is allowed to watch the occasional film on her computer at weekends. Nor is there any chance of a visit from the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.‘There’s no way I would ever lie to my kid — and whichever way you look at it, telling kids there’s a tooth fairy or that Santa is coming down a chimney is lying,’ says Shoshana. ‘It’s taking advantage of a child’s credulity. A lot of parents do it to make life easier for themselves. We don’t.’ If her childhood sounds more than a little regimented, Aliyah herself seems grounded enough, albeit with a certain bookish solemnity. When I arrive she is watering the plants before retreating to her bedroom — a reassuring vision of pink, with an assortment of soft toys — to read one of her many books, ranging from Enid Blyton to scary-looking science fiction. ‘She’s a voracious reader and has a huge range,’ Shoshana says proudly. When Aliyah reappears I ask her whether she appreciates what her parents do. ‘I know they put in lots of effort,’ she says quietly. ‘They work really hard for me and everything they are doing is to help me do my best.’

Aliyah’s schooling has, though, become a source of conflict once again. Struggling to fit in with her other pears, Aliyah has suffered from bullying and from September she will be home-schooled. ‘The sad fact is that the system fails gifted kids,’ says Shoshana. ‘At one of her schools she was chronically under-stimulated. ‘It got so bad she was coming home in tears saying she had learnt nothing. We begged them to put her up a year but the school didn’t listen, even after we had her assessed by an educational psychologist who identified her as a child with higher learning potential.’ Aliyah did, at least, fare better at a smaller independent school, but after three years her parents have decided to take her out of that, too, concerned this time that the school was, of all things, too focused on academic subjects. ‘They don’t take a holistic approach,’ says Shoshana. ‘It can’t all be about study.’ Home-schooling isn’t an easy path. ‘Aliyah is quite unconscious and ungrateful about the amount of help we give her. At times I do feel unappreciated,’ says Sasha.
It is, Shoshana and Sasha insist, a temporary measure, as they would like her to get back into mainstream schooling and mix with her peers. Child genius or otherwise, one suspects that is exactly what this little girl needs.

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Re: Therapy/Therapists media portrayal and Emma Kenny

Post by BenJMan » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:00 pm

There is so so much wrong with that story :( Much of it amounts to child abuse, though I don't trust the Daily Fail to be reporting the facts..

That said even the quotes from the parents are flawed "Well technically all three of us are geniuses" , they say about their daughter with an IQ of 135. They need to check the classification of 'Genius' ... The mother claims an IQ of 172.. her behaviour would suggest otherwise.

Also this made me vomit : " Aliyah is quite unconscious and ungrateful about the amount of help we give her. At times I do feel unappreciated" - Says her adoptive father :/

And yes, yet more examples of the need for protecting titles :(
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I don't know what half of this means :( What the hell is Energy Psychology ? And I have no idea what a 'registered trauma specialist' means but the only 'register of trauma specialists' appears to be a 2 dollar website which is now 'closed'
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Re: Therapy/Therapists media portrayal and Emma Kenny

Post by miriam » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:06 am

Neither has any qualifications as a practitioner psychologist, and neither has any qualification in evidence-based therapies. As to their understanding of IQ, it seems highly limited. The article is a perfect marriage between the usual click-bait of the DM and the self-publicising of the parents. It sounds like the Channel 4 show, and the article, are not entirely supportive of the techniques some of the parents are willing to go to, in order to have a maximally clever child.

This comment has 1300 upvotes, so I think people do see that this parent is not a skilled practitioner:
A 'genius' is a 'genius' it does not actually require this level of focus. I'm very concerned the mother is a psychologist. Anyone with even a fragment grasp of psychology would understand that subjecting a child to such strenuous pressure and effectively by-passing their childhood with a constant focus of adulthood is going to have incredibly serious ramifications when the girl does actually go to University. She will not be able to cope with the freedom and will go off the rails. I'm very worried this practicing psychologist would ignore important principles of child raising. It makes you wonder what damaging advice and guidance she is giving her clients!!
BTW, I'm going to uncouple the link to the DM and put a quote in spoilers, as I don't want to contribute to their hits.

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Re: Therapy/Therapists media portrayal and Emma Kenny

Post by lizzabadger » Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:17 pm

Well I am glad Emma Kenny is not a clinical psychologist. She was coming up with some, in my opinion, absolutely appalling twaddle on "The year of making love" and frankly I was ashamed to be a member of the same profession. Turns out I am not! Just a shame the public think so though.

Presumably it is an offence and the HCPC try to prosecute in these situations?

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Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by miriam » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:40 pm

Big debate on twitter about Jo Hemmings' article about Meghan Markle in the Daily Mail yesterday.

Here is my complaint to the BPS:
I wish to raise a professional practice complaint about Jo Hemmings "celebrity psychologist".

Her recent article for the Daily Mail about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appears to breach the code of conduct by giving professional opinions (spiteful ones that will harm a couple at a vulnerable time, in which they have already been bullied and harassed) about people she has never met or assessed, in a way that will cause them harm and bring the profession into disrepute. As can be seen in the numerous prominent threads on twitter, the public are appalled by her behaviour as a "psychologist" who prominently displays her BPS membership as if it is a professional credential that allows her to pass comment "as a psychologist" without any practitioner training or credible qualification to do so.

This is yet another example of how your promotion of membership and lack of regulatory teeth as a professional body harms our reputation, promotes malpractice, places the public at risk of harm and lowers the standing of our profession in the public eye.

I am so concerned that if she is not promptly and publically expelled from membership I will be cancelling my membership, despite 20 years of being an active part of the society and contributing to your functioning in various ways through committee and policy work.
Feel free to cut and paste or write your own complaint to conduct@bps.org.uk if you feel similarly.

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Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by Iggy1 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:37 am

Her website states she carries out “standardised psychological evaluation”, can “assess participants” and provides “detailed reports” to production companies on her “findings” (see Duty of Care tab)- surely this is unethical given that she is unlikely to have received training or supervision and a layperson may assume post grad training/competency is attached to the title behavioural psychologist? As far as her Linkedin goes she has no further qualification than a BA in Psychology.

Given the increase in reports of distress, and in some cases suicide, of reality stars I am concerned that she appears to be employed as the primary (potentially only?) Psychologist on multiple reality TV shows without the relevant training. I am amazed that the BPS continues to allow her to use membership with them as evidence to the public that she is a competent Psychologist.

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Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by miriam » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:20 pm

Agreed. Please do send those concerns to the email address given.

I've asked the BPS to pause my membership renewal until these and my other concerns are responded to.
My membership is due to renew soon (member number 91420) and, despite the fact I've been an active and contributing member of the society for more than 20 years, I am not sure that I want to stay a member any more. I've raised my concerns here:
https://twitter.com/ClinPsy/status/1216 ... 95104?s=20

I am also concerned about the use of BPS membership to give false credibility to non-practitioner psychologists, and I am amongst many people to feel that you have enabled Jo Hemmings in her shameful conduct in the media and misrepresentation of herself as a credible practitioner of psychology.
I would like a response to these concerns before I am willing to part with my £306 renewal, so I would like my renewal to be paused until you have responded. That way I can judge whether you are an organisation I want to be associated with.

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Re: Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by lingua_franca » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:14 am

Today I caught Emma Kenny on TV for the first time. The presenters were encouraging people with depression and anxiety to phone in following the death of Caroline Flack. The first caller was a woman in an abusive relationship who was feeling suicidal. I was expecting people with a mild level of difficulty and was quite startled that the producers saw fit to broadcast this live on air, especially given the potential risks of the caller being identified by her abuser. Kenny appeared out of her depth when trying to give advice, and the thing that worried me most was she didn't seem to realise it.

I then had a look at her website, and it says this: "[S]he regularly lectures on the Psychology PhD at The Manchester University."

I don't understand what this means. UoM is where I did my PhD. Leaving aside the fact that PhD programmes in Britain rarely incorporate compulsory lectures beyond research skills training, I never came across her there and if she were a regular lecturer I think I would have seen her around or at least heard of her. I struggle to believe it means she lectures on one of the practitioner doctorates. I'll feel quite disillusioned if she does! Can anyone shed light on this?
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Re: Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by Spatch » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:51 am

With all the coverage of mental health, responsibility of care and the related issues around Caroline Flack and Jeremy Kyle, I wonder if there is a potential Guardian article in this issue. Anyone know a good journalist, or would be willing to submit something themselves?

However, to give them their due credit, ITV are currently recruiting for a HCPC Practitioner Psychologist to oversee risk and care issues. https://www.jobsinpsychology.co.uk/jobs/psychologist-15
For me, this is at least a step in the right direction, and hopefully will reduce the appearance of self proclaimed experts, 'relationship psychologists' and the like.
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Re: Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by miriam » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:26 pm

Spatch wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:51 am
However, to give them their due credit, ITV are currently recruiting for a HCPC Practitioner Psychologist to oversee risk and care issues. https://www.jobsinpsychology.co.uk/jobs/psychologist-15
Wow, that's a difficult post to take on. And they want a freelancer and give no pay scale. Plus a bit strange that they specify:
Do you have a higher level degree (Masters or Doctorate) in a psychological discipline? Not Required.
Even though they (rightly) require HCPC registration and a higher level qualification would appear to be necessary to meet that criterion.

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Re: Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by anonymouseUK » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:52 pm

Hello all and thank you for accepting me on here

Briefly, I'm accepted at university to do my Masters, but have other types of counseling training (I bet everyone knows what I mean) as in lots of different things in therapy but currently working towards being fully accredited.

Ethics is hugely important to me and I've been a member of the BPS in the past. Given my currently naive status I was glad to find this forum as I've got a few really big concerns about Emma Kenny but I'd like to share them here before thinking about what should be done.

Regarding social media and Emmas' vlogs, I was very shocked to see the one she did on the night it was announced that Caroline Flack had died. She discussed people talking in ANY way negatively, not just 'trolls' but she really empathised ANYONE and she stated that those people had 'blood on their hands'

Now I didn't watch Caroline Flack, didn't know the back stories about court and charges etc but have since read a lot. I'm really concerned about 1. Blame in a suicide situation and 2. The terms being used, after all, some comments may have been from male victims of abuse etc - it's hard to tell which is why I'm so shocked at her 'blood on hands' video

Then, I also saw on her social media that she has a husband - she does vlogs with him too, almost as if the viewer can assume he has some training in mental health issues! His profile says he runs 'illegal raves'

Even more concerning is he shared a post she'd made on Facebook and then one of their friends offers to use petrol to destroy people they've encountered online and the husband replies he 'prefers a chainsaw as it's messier'

Now many 'trolls' online are simply people disagreeing, and potentially young people who care about these shows and who dates who etc etc. It gets out of control but 1. Saying they're responsible for a death, she shared comments about it being 'manslaughter' and 2. Threatening to give someone a messy death, when many will be drawn to her videos and social media given the hashtags she uses, could really unbalance someone? It's really playing on my mind and I'd appreciate any input about whether this should be reported? I have no idea about therapist memberships and conduct online?

Thanks again

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Re: Emma Kenny, Jo Hemmings and concerns re "Celebrity psychologists"

Post by FranBedores » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:42 am

I have been appalled to catch Emma Kenny on television repeatedly during lockdown (yes, I'm watching too much TV). She was advising the nation about their reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic on This Morning, also on ITV news doing the same, giving parenting advice and on several crime programmes discussing the mental health of offenders - she seems to be a Health, Clinical, Child and Forensic 'psychologist' in one! In all seriousness, I am very concerned about the things she says, she seems very gung-ho and actually rather aggressive, willing to brand children who have committed crimes (the subject of her show on the Crime and Investigation Network) as 'psychopaths' and 'personality disordered' and even 'evil'. Her misrepresentation of herself as a practitioner psychologist is disgusting and I'm really offended that a counselling diploma (no offence to anyone with one) is deemed an appropriate qualification to allow her to tell the nation how to respond to the Coronavirus etc. I had a look at her Facebook posts out of interest and wow! She is a real loose cannon, and extremely aggressive in her delivery. I heard her advise people with severe mental health concerns that 'it doesn't matter what type of therapist you see as long as you like them' in amongst an awful lot of ranting. I was shocked to see that her own father very tragically took his own life and she IMMEDIATELY took to social media, she doesn't appear to have any filter and I think is extremely triggering for vulnerable followers (of which I see she has many and they hang on her opinions).

I have complained to ITV. I think that we should all take a minute to do the same. It isn't a personal witch hunt but simply that the public are being misled and I believe Emma Kenny is dangerously out of her depth and either does not know, or I suspect does not care. I think it is ironic that ITV are (at last) advertising for a Registered and Practitioner Psychologist to work with their cast members. But why don't they give their viewers the same level of qualification and expertise? I think it is only a matter of time, if it has not happened already, that she causes a negative reaction in one of the viewers or triggers a harmful event.

It is really easy to register your concerns - just email ThisMorning@itv.com and/or viewerservices@itv.com

I have also emailed the channel that shows her on Kids Who Kill:Evil Up Close (what a horrendous title) as I think it is disgusting that they didn't use a Registered Practitioner Forensic Psychologist or Clinical Psychologist for such a sensitive subject. It really is a masterclass in bad and prejudiced 'psychology'. They are on feedback@aetn.co.uk

Watching Emma Kenny makes me wonder why I study so hard to become a Clinical Psychologist... then I remember, it is having standards and not wishing to do any harm. Really, I am appalled.

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