Thousands of pounds spent on "mind therapy" for council employees

January 10, 2008 11:18 AM

According to yesterday’s Express and Star 12 council staff at Black Country housing company, Sandwell Homes, were given “mind therapy sessions” costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.


The report claims that the one-to-one therapy sessions for maintenance and housing managers encouraged employees to share their thoughts on a “search for excellence”.


The therapy was given by Richard Elwell, who runs ‘Ethical Influence’. He has trained with Michael Breen, who in turn is known for his work with TV hypnotist Paul McKenna.


Each of the staff were treated to five sessions of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), made popular by Mckenna, each lasting an hour and a half. Elwell insists that there was no element of hypnosis:


Hypnosis “It is merely conversation, asking them how they would like to do better. It’s a search for excellence”.


Despite this sounding like something managers can discuss amongst themselves or with their superiors completely gratis, the newspaper reports that One Essex NLP practitioner charges £55 for an hour and a half. If Elwell’s prices are similar the taxpayer is looking at a bill of nearly £3,500, and yet the tangible benefits are far from clear.


This is another example of public servants indulging themselves at our expense. Taxpayers’ should not be expected to pay the extortionate fees of someone brought in to practice something that sounds a lot like psychobabble to the rest of us.


Whether these sessions included Paul McKenna-style hypnosis or not, one thing is clear – that this money was not put to good, practical use. Instead Sandwell Homes have siphoned money from the public purse to experiment with the sort of newfangled and questionable middle management coaching that yields little and costs a lot.


Local residents pay their taxes for services, not psychology.


According to yesterday’s Express and Star 12 council staff at Black Country housing company, Sandwell Homes, were given “mind therapy sessions” costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds.


The report claims that the one-to-one therapy sessions for maintenance and housing managers encouraged employees to share their thoughts on a “search for excellence”.


The therapy was given by Richard Elwell, who runs ‘Ethical Influence’. He has trained with Michael Breen, who in turn is known for his work with TV hypnotist Paul McKenna.


Each of the staff were treated to five sessions of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), made popular by Mckenna, each lasting an hour and a half. Elwell insists that there was no element of hypnosis:


Hypnosis “It is merely conversation, asking them how they would like to do better. It’s a search for excellence”.


Despite this sounding like something managers can discuss amongst themselves or with their superiors completely gratis, the newspaper reports that One Essex NLP practitioner charges £55 for an hour and a half. If Elwell’s prices are similar the taxpayer is looking at a bill of nearly £3,500, and yet the tangible benefits are far from clear.


This is another example of public servants indulging themselves at our expense. Taxpayers’ should not be expected to pay the extortionate fees of someone brought in to practice something that sounds a lot like psychobabble to the rest of us.


Whether these sessions included Paul McKenna-style hypnosis or not, one thing is clear – that this money was not put to good, practical use. Instead Sandwell Homes have siphoned money from the public purse to experiment with the sort of newfangled and questionable middle management coaching that yields little and costs a lot.


Local residents pay their taxes for services, not psychology.


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