Dr Rex Haigh appointed Medical Director

by Colleen DeRango, Executive Director

Our new Medical Director

Rex HaighWe are starting 2015 with incredible gratitude as we make the wonderful announcement of our new Medical Director.

It is with the greatest respect and happiness that I introduce to you Dr Rex Haigh, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry and 20-year veteran NHS consultant psychiatrist. He started his medical career as a GP, then trained in psychiatry, and group analytic psychotherapy. He is an internationally known expert in the field of therapeutic communities.

His expertise completes our goal of having an in-house clinical team working in tandem with our external network of referring clinicians, psychiatrists and general practitioners to ensure high standards of quality trauma healing treatment for our common clients.  This month I write in my blog about the value of collaboration.

Dr Haigh was a member of the guideline development group for NICE CG78 on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), where he emphatically stated that a standard psychiatric approach of ‘medication and review’ was not suitable for people with these conditions, as they generally have a history of complex trauma and disordered emotional development; which reinforces the need for long-term and coherently delivered treatment.

Personality disorders and trauma

The strong overlap between BPD and trauma and his embracing of our similar therapeutic philosophy implemented at Khiron House made him an excellent match for our needs from both our clients and our clinicians. Here is how he describes the relationship between trauma and personality disorders:

“Although different clinical disciplines have different languages for describing and defining the intensely painful and disabling consequences of disrupted emotional development, with psychologists usually calling it ‘complex trauma’, and psychiatrists diagnosing it as ‘borderline personality disorder’, the underlying mental ‘injury’ is the same – and the treatment for it needs to be biopsychosocial to be effective. This means that the social and the psychological need to be taken into account as much as the biological (meaning brain structure and chemistry, and genetics).

Unless services realise this, and incorporate all the aspects into a coordinated treatment programme, people with these problems – whatever their label – will not be receiving the best treatment. Khiron House offers a state-of-the-art psychotherapy programme for trauma, which can now be fully integrated with the necessary medical care to keep people safe and best able to benefit from the intensive therapy”.

He writes more about these and similar matters in his blog: www.greenshrink.blogspot.com

Rex’s work as a Clinical Advisor to the Department of Health’s National Personality Disorder Programme involved commissioning 11 national pilot projects to demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of using therapeutic approaches which emphasise the quality of therapeutic relationships within a treatment unit.

Environmental care

Dr Haigh’s team also recently won the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability Psychiatric Team of the Year Award in the RCPsych Awards 2014. This marks the highest level of achievement in psychiatry, recognizing and rewarding excellent practice in the field of mental health.   He made the following statement upon receiving this award: “Sustainability is about connecting people to each other and to nature, helping people to see that there is a life worth living, and a planet that is worth living on.”

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