Chris John – GP (UK National Health Service NHS)
As a GP I worked closely with Clive Sherlock as a colleague and have seen the benefits of Adaptation Practice (Ap) both in patients that I referred, and with a group of colleagues who took part in a study of Adaptation Practice for doctors dealing with their own stress, anxiety and depression.
The study with doctors was over 6 months and progress was compared with a control group. Both groups were recruited from a survey of 380 GPs. The doctors were asked to complete standardised measures of stress, anxiety and depression. A group of doctors was identified with scores in the clinical range for depression and anxiety.
Fortnightly sessions of Ap were run over 6months led by Clive Sherlock and facilitated by myself. There were marked improvements in scores in the group of doctors attending as compared with the control group. The study was published in the British Journal of Medical Practitioners (BJMP).
To try to capture the essence of Adaptation Practice in words is difficult. It is closely analogous to learning a skill or sporting activity. Incrementally we learn how to approach unwanted emotions, which we normally prefer to deny, avoid or express in unrestrained outbursts. Ap changes you and transforms the emotion. It is like learning to ride a horse or ride a bike or run a marathon. Patiently taking one step at a time we can achieve great changes.
As mammals we are fully equipped to survive and have done for millennia, but in recent times we have chosen to try to avoid discomfort and as a result have become emotionally unfit. Just look around at the myriad distractors and panaceas. We can’t just sit with ourselves quietly and be patient. One of the first things you learn to do in Ap is do everything willingly and promptly. At first we might find it difficult to get up willingly and say ‘Yes’ to washing the dishes when we don’t feel like it. It might seem that we prefer to keep ruminating about what the boss said to us that day.
It is possible to overcome very painful emotional and psychological problems with Ap. I have seen profound changes occur and patients restore their well being and capacity for living to the full.