I studied medicine at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, Imperial College, London. After working in hospital medicine, I trained and did research in psychiatry and clinical psychology. This included neuroscience, drug therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), behaviour therapy and Jungian psychoanalysis.
I worked for many years as a hospital psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service (NHS), where I saw, first-hand, how all too often the treatments we were giving caused unpleasant and serious side effects – including addiction and suicide. If they seemed to work at all, they only helped some people, to some extent, for some time; and these effects were really no better than placebo. You can read more about the many problems in psychiatry.
Early on I saw these serious flaws and limitations in the theories and practices used in psychiatry and clinical psychology. Clearly, psychiatrists and psychologists don’t understand the nature or the cause of the common and often devastating psychological and emotional conditions – which are misleadingly called ‘mental illnesses’. Nor do they how to treat them, which is why they are still searching.
Taking the Hippocratic Oath, doctors promise to try to do as little harm as possible. I did not want to collude with a practice that caused (and still causes) so much harm. I wanted to help people recover; not make them worse, as we were often doing. This fired my curiosity with a deep desire to find what lies behind these conditions. And so I began further research. The NHS granted me a fully funded year’s sabbatical to carry out this research.
By 1975 I had already pioneered Adaptation Practice (Ap) and started to teach it to patients. Ap is unique, radically different from other approaches. It is not a medical treatment or therapy. It is a way of living that deals with the root causes of suffering, stress, anxiety, anger, depression and disturbed behaviour. Many patients who had not responded to conventional treatments started to recover when they learned how to do Ap.
Because of the British government’s political interference in the NHS, hospital managers put pressure on doctors to prescribe drugs with or without psychological therapies. Patients’ welfare was more important than my career and so I resigned from the NHS to continue to develop and teach Ap.
Before starting psychiatry, I had studied philosophy at Heidelberg University. While there I was introduced to far eastern psychology and philosophy. Consequently, I trained for the next 25 years in a traditional Japanese Zen Buddhist training. What I have learned about emotion and how to cope with it has been the strongest influence on all my involvement in psychiatry and clinical psychology. It has led to a complete change in my understanding of so-called mental illnesses and the central role emotion plays in causing them. Such understanding is simple plain common sense and can readily be grasped by anyone. It is practical, rather like knowing what it is to balance on a bike, which can only come from doing it yourself.
I developed the structured training programme of Ap based on what for me is a new understanding.
Appearances in the Media:
BBC Television: Mysteries with Carol Vorderman as an expert on stress and emotional experiences – 2 October 1998.
BBC Television: Current affairs as an expert on emotion related to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – 2015.
BBC Radio: expert on addictions and gambling – 2014.
LBC Radio: multiple guest appearances as an expert on emotion, mood disorders, anxiety and stress – 2013-2017.
I teach Adaptation Practice to anyone who asks for help. If you would like to learn Adaptation Practice please contact me here.
Wikipedia: Clive Sherlock: a British doctor …