BILL'S PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY
More than thirty years ago I realised that I really had no idea how to live life well and, not knowing where to turn for answers, I began an intensive search. The first immensely fertile ground that I explored was the work of the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. I realised that this was the work I wanted to do but I needed the training. So once I had completed my degree in microbiology, I went back to university and trained as a clinical psychologist. Many answers emerged, my life improved significantly and I went on to establish busy private practices both in Cape Town and, later, in Harley Street, London.
Clinical psychology certainly had much to offer but it still left me feeling that something was missing. I wanted to deepen my understanding of the treatment of emotional and spiritual difficulties and so I did this by training in several forms of psychotherapy:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Many more gems were unearthed but I knew that the search was far from over. Part of the problem was that clinical psychology and most forms of psychotherapy focus on mental illness. I wanted a much broader focus that included answers to my essential question: ‘How can we live well in a busy, modern world?’
Coaching was one of those professions that had a more positive approach and it became a valuable part of my work. But, even with all of this, I still felt that my understanding was far from complete. This led me to deepen my exploration of both western and eastern spiritual traditions. One of the many invaluable gifts that emerged from this was the experience of a profound part of ourselves that is peaceful, wise, and fundamentally happy. Meditation was an important catalyst for this realisation as were retreats and workshops with teachers such as Ram Dass, Sogyal Rinpoche and Jack Kornfield.
Still the search continued and, in the late 1990’s, I was drawn to explore the indigenous healing traditions. I trained as a Vision Quest Guide in the USA and later as a Doctor of Traditional African Medicine in Botswana. Despite the fact that I no longer practice in a traditional way, both of these experiences have added much to the richness and scope of the work.
Now, after more than thirty years, and with the help of teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti and Nirmala, I find that I am no longer searching. I continue to be curious – and I still very much enjoy learning – but it’s not driven by a feeling that ‘something is missing.’ Instead, there is a sense of a never-ending deepening of the process.