Professional psychology award 2005 

THE 2005 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology has been accepted by Dr Gill Aitken. She is currently Lead, Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the National High Secure Women’s Service Directorate at Rampton Hospital. She is also seconded two days a week to Care Services Improvement Partnership – National Institute of Mental Health in England (North West) as Women’s Programme Lead.
Dr Aitken completed her training as a clinical psychologist in 1996. Since then she has put equality issues on the agenda of the professional organisations and services to which she has been affiliated. She has also embodied this personally and professionally in her writings and therapeutic practice. After qualifying, she promoted the case for women’s needs to be addressed, and pressed for service and workforce development for women and disadvantaged social groups. She negotiated the first dedicated Bolton, Salford and Trafford Mental Health Trust (BSTMHT) psychological post for women in 2000, and was subsequently appointed Lead, Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Ashworth Women’s Services. She helped reform the institution by recruiting and retaining psychological workers from a range of careers and backgrounds, so as to enhance women’s access to a variety of therapeutic approaches. In the process, she introduced systems and mechanisms to support the development of a woman-centred and user-oriented psychological service. In June 2005 she was recruited as Lead Psychologist in the National High Secure Women’s Service Directorate at Rampton, which from the end of 2006 will be the sole national high-secure service for women.
Dr Aitken co-founded the independent multi-agency North West Women Working with Women Forum. She has set up specialist training placements for clinical psychologists, and provided supervision and consultancy for teams working therapeutically with women across prison and all levels of secure settings. In contributing to service development, she actively promotes user-centred recovery and rehabilitation service models that build on the strengths and resources of users. She was part of the team that secured funding from the Department of Health for one of the four national High Support Women’s pilots (led by Salford PCT).
Dr Aitken has an impressive list to her name of journal articles, conference papers and workshop presentations. She has also been actively involved in the BPS as an Executive Committee member of the BPS ‘Race’ and Culture Special Group, and as a member of the Psychology of Women Section Committee.
Nominating Dr Aitken for the award on behalf of the Psychology of Women Section, Dr Karen Ciclitira described her as an ‘outstanding psychologist’ whose CV ‘reflects a passion and commitment to work for social justice and social inclusion’. She summed up Dr Aitken’s achievements, saying: ‘Gill has worked positively to ensure that psychologists’ practice and theory are accessible and sensitive to the needs of different social groups,
service users, and co-workers. Throughout her career she has actively promoted organisational service development and improvement for minoritised groups. She has been prepared to challenge institutional and academic ways of thinking and practice. Her major contributions will have positive effects on future generations of psychologists, agency colleagues, service users, organisations, and professional therapy bodies.’
On accepting the award,
Dr Aitken commented: ‘To be singled out is a little overwhelming. As a feminist clinical psychologist working towards social justice, I am one of many individuals and part of wider social groups who over decades have aimed for appropriate and equitable user-centred (clinical) psychology and mental health service provision to all members of our communities. My approach to working within clinical psychology has been shaped by the many people I have met, read or heard about over the years and who have inspired me, shared their resources and/or supported me. These include: clients/service users, co-workers and allies within and outwith psychology. I hope to continue to use my resources and privileges wisely!’

Event held for TV producers

THE Society’s Public Relations Unit held a briefing for television production companies in November 2005. The aim was to explain the science of psychology and the services of the Media Centre, and to develop the relationship the Society has with production companies.
Sixteen researchers/producers attended the event and heard four presentations, including Dr Cynthia McVey and Professor Chris French talking about their experiences on the BBC Castaway and Sea of Souls programmes respectively. After the presentations there was an open discussion session and a networking lunch, with an additional 12 psychologists attending.
All of those present said they would recommend their colleagues attend any future events.


February–March 2006
To be held at the BPS History of Psychology Centre, 33 John Street, London WC1N 2AT, 6pm–8pm.
This series of research seminars aims to provide a forum in which those engaged in research on the history of psychology and related disciplines can present and discuss their work-in-progress with fellow researchers and students. A further series will be arranged for the October–December 2006 period. Anyone interested in contributing to this, including doctoral and postgraduate students, should contact Graham Richards at the e-mail address given below or Rhodri Hayward of the Wellcome Trust Centre on [email protected].
1 February Stefan Schwarzkopf (Birkbeck, University of London) – ‘Motivational research in Great Britain: How the Cold War helped “anglicise” an “American” market and consumer research technique, ca. 1950–1970’
8 February Dr Andreas Meyer (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge) – ‘Around the couch: Historical reflections on the use of furniture in psychotherapy’
22 February Robert J. Audley (University College London) & Elizabeth Valentine (Royal Holloway, University of London) ‘What can exam questions tell us about the history of psychology? UCL psychology papers over the years’
1 March David Duncan (retired occupational psychologist) – ‘Social psychology 1955–1975: An alternative view’
15 March Alexandra Lembert (Leipzig University) – ‘Psychic detective fiction, psychology and criminology 1880–1930’
Admission and refreshments are free, but it would be helpful if you could notify Graham Richards on [email protected] a week in advance if you intend coming.
These seminars are co-sponsored by the British Psychological Society, History of Psychology Centre and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, University College London.

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