George Julian did a fantastic job live tweeting the LB Inquest. To have that level of detail so closely recorded will be an important record for years to come. One of the many discussions that has occurred since the verdict has been the psychiatrist’s real loathing of Dr Sara Ryan. I was in the courtroom for the second part of Dr M’s evidence and her disquiet was visible. Even on video link, it was shocking to see her freeze every time Sara’s name was mentioned. Why?
I think it’s about love. Or the complete incapacity to recognise and understand love. Every time Sara talked her love for Connor, and indeed her ability to love from a very deep place, came through very powerfully. This is extremely threatening. The minute professionals who build such a fragile façade are confronted with love, the entire edifice comes crumbling down. The ensuing exposure often results in aggressive attack.
I have my own experience of this. I took a friend to a meeting which included nine professionals. The main agenda point of the meeting was the LA’s plan to move Steven to Wales. As usual, I put up my normal argument that if they let Steven come home, all the challenging behaviour would disappear. The chair of the meeting said: “Mr Neary. Why do you believe your opinion is more valid than any of the professionals sat around this table?”. I responded, “Because I know him. Because I love him”.
At this point, my friend nudged me in the ribs. I looked across and the social worker was laughing. Love had become laughable. It was invalid. So consequently, if knowledge arises from love, then that knowledge becomes laughable too.
On a surface level, my expression of love was sneered at but on a deeper level, it must have pricked something. From that point on, the tone of the meeting became very aggressive (on their part). An already frosty atmosphere became a Siberian winter. I had said something very unsettling and the only response was to attack.
Love has no place in social care. You dare not speak its name. Even worse, you better not imply love by your expression or behaviour. Love is as relevant to person centred plans, one page profiles, risk assessments as a stale Jaffa cake.
I’m not saying this is true of all professionals in social care. Obviously it is not and I’ve met lots of people who exude love and maintain their professionalism. But be very afraid if you come across one who doesn’t recognise what it is like to love or be loved. Your love will wound them and, unconsciously, they will want to wound back.
What Dr M needs more than anything is several sessions on her own couch.
From → Social Care