As a doctor, I adhere to the principle of treating the whole person and not just the diseased organ. Of course, this involves looking beyond medical pathology and addressing patient’s psychosocial and emotional issues. For this reason, I leverage on regression therapy techniques. Unknown to many, these techniques are neither unorthodox nor do they differ markedly from the psychodynamic techniques used in conventional psychotherapy. The only major difference is that regression is conducted under hypnosis whereas conventional psychotherapy is practiced in the conscious state.
I recall two of my earliest patients who came to me for regression therapy. The first was a Family Medicine physician herself. She experienced significant improvement in her wellbeing after exhausting her options with conventional medicine. The second patient was an admin staff from SNEC. She was near the verge of desperation with her personal issues but experienced a transformational change after going through a short course of regression therapy with me. Following her recovery she encouraged me to write up her story as a book. This was how my first book “Healing Deep Hurt Within” was published in 2011. Since then, it has gained a worldwide readership and has been translated into Swedish, French and Spanish. This was a very motivating experience and explains why my interest in regression therapy continued to grow.
I have written six books so far, so you can certainly say that writing is a passion of mine. I felt a need to share my success stories in regression therapy with others. Books are a most effective way of creating awareness, especially when patient anecdotes have no chance of getting published in scientific journals these days. That aside, writing does bring me much fulfillment in terms of personal growth. It forces me to set aside dedicated time from my busy clinical work, and that is a discipline in itself.
My switch from scientific to narrative writing has been a rich learning experience. Writing stories is a great way of communicating scientific ideas to non-expert audiences and also a personal form of artistic expression. It is a great way to helps us and our patients uncover long-term goals and values. In interpreting our life events through a narrative lens, we get to change the way we see the world and build meaning into our lives. While we are all born as unique individuals to look at the world in our own way, our creativity is usually stifled as we grow up because we are expected to fit into our social environment. Through writing however, I feel that I can uncover my voice once again.
Assoc Prof Mack On Pui Peter
Department of Hepato-pancreato-biliary and Transplant Surgery
Singapore General Hospital
Assoc Prof Mack is a recipient of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Long Service Awards 2018 for 40 years of service.