Episode 18: Life goes on...

The concluding episode of Shadow draws upon a real-life experience of the author.

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Episode 17: There are different ways of having fun...

In the penultimate episode of Shadow, some of the patients and staff of the hospital are having a wonderful time at the post bonfire disco. As Terri wreaks her terrible revenge, others most certainly are not…

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Episode 16: A night of fun...

This episode describes an important annual social event for patients. Social events are incredibly important for patients who may be in a hospital such of Hilgram because of their journey through the criminal justice system, still have a legal, and therapeutically proper, right to social interaction. Social events enable people on their road to recovery and facilitate social skill development alongside being much needed fun.

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Episode 15: The cutting edge...

This episode touches upon the distressing act of deliberate self harming. Self harming can take many forms and people who are compelled as an aspect of their condition, to self harm may be quite secretive about doing so whether this be hiding the number of calories eaten, finding covered places on the body to cut, or the pulling out of hair from patches that can be hidden by careful styling.

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Episode 14: The reputation of the hospital is at stake...

As this episode alludes to, deaths of patients – and - criminal activity in high security psychiatric care will always be thoroughly investigated and personnel undertaking such investigations must be mindful of the particular challenges of working in such environments so the investigation is fair and thorough.

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Episode 13: Fire and Blade and a game of chance...

In this episode we meet Katie-Mae again. She, and others in the hospital are excited about a game of bingo held in the gym hall. Social events are very important for the wellbeing of patients. They enable a degree of socialisation and normalised interaction between patients in a fun activity.

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Episode 12: A bad day at the office...

Patients in high security psychiatric care may lie. It is important to realise that no negative judgement should be placed on such a statement and to appreciate that there may be a number of reasons they do so. Reasons may include memory based trauma to do with psychological or physical injury – people may remember events in a very particular way.

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Episode 11: Something in the air

As the BBC recently reported, attacks on staff in mental health settings are at an all time high with more than forty-two thousand incidents recorded in the UK. Attacks recorded include serious injuries and one fatal stabbing and many of the people involved report subsequent severe trauma as a consequence of the attacks. The report also notes more than seventeen thousand recorded assaults by patients on other patients in mental health settings in the UK.

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Episode 10: Deadly Friendships (Part 2)

In episode seven the concept of manipulation was considered and is revisited in this episode. Terry’s manipulation of Eddie is dressed in the role play of a fledgling sado-masochistic relationship but as will become evident, a key element of such role plays – trust – is brutally betrayed. Jess continues to raise concerns with hospital management and finds herself silenced, admonished and betrayed by those who she should have been able to trust, working to hidden agendas.

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Episode 9: Deadly Friendships (Part 1)

In episode seven the concept of manipulation was considered and is revisited in this episode. Terry’s manipulation of Eddie is dressed in the role play of a fledgling sado-masochistic relationship but as will become evident, a key element of such role plays – trust – is brutally betrayed. Jess continues to raise concerns with hospital management and finds herself silenced, admonished and betrayed by those who she should have been able to trust, working to hidden agendas.

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Episode 8: The Group

Group work is a key method of engaging patients in psychiatric care environments and has much to commend it but managing such groups is not without challenges. This is particularly true in mixed gendered groups but carefully managed group-work is proven to add a therapeutically important dimension to treatment in secure environments.

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Episode 7: How persuadable are you?

A great many motivational blogs and articles and even more advertisements for goods we may or may not need depend on us being persuadable. In the first instance we are actively encouraged to take actions to enhance some element of our lives whether that is health, fitness or lifestyle. Moreover, we are encouraged to learn the art of self persuasion – to develop personal mantras which, it is argued, will over time encourage us to think differently.

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Episode 6: Suspicions are aroused

Clearly Shadow is a work of fiction so how serious incidents in secure environments are managed is not discussed in detail. However, there are procedures regulated under either policy or statute. Key drivers of such procedures are to enable patient safety and to learn from incidents. Those in health services of course support such drivers, but it is fair to say that many will dread the investigation into a serious incident because everyone and everything will be under scrutiny.

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Episode 5: Meet the patients

In this episode of Shadow of the Wing we begin to meet the patients – Katie-Mae, a serial arsonist. Few empirical studies of serial arsonists exist and fewer still are likely to be about women. The largest body of research to look at arson was done by, predictably, the Behavioural Science Unit of the FBI. Their study proposed six motives for arson, one of which is stimulation. Such arsonists have an almost fetishistic love of fire scenes and will hang around watching fires they have set, they may develop relationships with fire fighters or indeed, become a fire fighter themselves. Katie-Mae herself recognises that incarceration keeps her out of trouble, or at least… that is the theory…

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Episode 4: Jess is shocked by the plans for the Psychological Treatment Unit

In episode 4 of Shadow of the Wing Jess meets the General Manager of Hilgram Lodge. Sheila Margoleyes – who would once upon a time have been called the ‘Matron’ of the hospital - is not all she at first seems. She learns of plans for a new treatment unit, plans which Jess believes could have deadly consequences…

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Episode 3: Hilgram Lodge

Shadow of the Wing episode 3 introduces Hilgram Lodge, once mad house, now secure hospital, still holder of dangerous secrets. Today’s secure psychiatric hospitals are modern, generally comfortable environments which operate as small ward communities to some extent. Clearly they are secure environments and individuals do not have the freedoms most of us enjoy.

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Episode 2: Introducing Jess Isaacs – reluctantly renowned social worker

Shadow of the Wing episode 2 tells the story of how Jess Isaacs, a social worker, ends up working in the field of forensic mental health and psychological profiling. As readers of crime fiction will know, it is more usual than not that such lead characters are invariably from a psychology background such as Dr Tony Hill, the conflicted but brilliant character created by the wonderful Val McDermid in her first novel, The Mermaids Singing1 or from the realms of pathology such as Jenny Cooper created by MR Hall in his book The Coroner2 and Temprance Brennan the heroine of Kathy Reichs series of books, adapted for the TV series Bones.

  1. The Mermaids Singing, by Val McDermid, is published by Harper Collins 

  2. The Coroner, by MR Hall is published by Macmillan 

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Episode 1: Introducing the 'Shadow of the Wing' podcast

Welcome to my new podcast which is a serialisation of my novel Shadow of the Wing. The novel is very loosely based upon English High Security Psychiatric Hospitals, Rampton, Ashworth and the infamous Broadmoor. The story will be told in episodes available via this website and through iTunes.

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