Oliver James' first degree was in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, which he followed by training as a child clinical psychologist at Nottingham University. Previously, he was Research Fellow at Brunel University’s Institute of Organization and Social Studies. He worked as a clinical psychologist in the Cassel Hospital for six years before becoming an author, journalist, TV producer, radio broadcaster and television presenter.
He is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Occupational Psychologist, registered with the British Psychological Society, and registered as a pscyhotherapist with the John Bowlby Centre.
He has an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University (2009). He acted as an adviser to Jack Straw during his time at the Home Office (1997-2001). In 2006 he was a member of the Conservative Party’s Well-Being Sub-Group, part of its Quality of Life Commission. He was also a founder member of Richard Layard’s Happiness Forum which was the key driver of both the Labour and Tory party’s adoption of well-being as a measure in evaluation of Gross Domestic Product.
He is the author of a number of bestselling books, including They F*** You Up, Affluenza and Office Politics.
As a result of his books and his work in the media, he has conducted hundreds of consultations with parents, as well as troubled adults. Between 2004-6 he presented a television series on ITV’s This Morning programme, resulting in the development of his self-help method for parents, Love Bombing. This method is designed to help parents alter the attachment status of their children.
The Limbus Critical Psychotherapy Conference
Challenging the Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies:
The Overselling of CBT's Evidence Base
Happiness, CBT & Apple Pie:
Hard Selling From The Clinical Psychology Salesmen
The pitch for IAPT to Gordon Brown from Richard Layard (briefed by David Clark) was that CBT was the only reliable therapy based on hard evidence, a therapy that could spread happiness in just six sessions, one that could convert the depressed long-term unemployed into Tesco shelf-stackers with smiles on their face, saving billions. Depressed New Labour grandees, like Alastair Campbell, reinforced the message.
The salesmen omitted to mention two simple facts: that after 18 months, there is no difference between people who have had CBT and controls; whereas clients who have had long-term psychodynamic therapies, which explore the childhood roots of problems, are proven to achieve long-term change in their emotional states. All CBT does it to produce a temporary shift in the story people tell themselves. Like the rhetoric of politicians in speaking to voters, reality soon reasserts itself. It is not hyperbolic to call it a disgrace that the clinical psychologists have managed to persuade NICE and the insurance companies to buy into their rhetoric, selling the public short in terms of the therapies available to them: neither the NHS nor those on private health insurance can access therapies which explore the childhood and social roots of their distress.
For further information please contact: Farhad Dalal, Limbus, 1 The Plains, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5DR; Tel: 0778 222 0385
email cbt_conf 'at' limbus 'dot' org 'dot' uk