DR. ENG-KONG TAN FROM METTA CLINIC SYDNEY WAS INVITED BY THE WORLD BUDDHIST CONFERENCE TO PRESENT
A PAPER IN KUALA LUMPUR ON 3 – 4 NOV 2012
“FROM THERAPY TO A FLOURISHING LIFE”
SYNOPSIS:by Dr. Tan Eng Kong of the Metta Clinic MBBS, MPM, FRANZCP
In the past, Western psychology and therapy has concentrated on what has
gone wrong and it’s aim was to reduce pain. Its theories are driven by the
past and the human mind is considered conditioned and somewhat imprisoned by
the past. This entrenched pessimistic premise gave rise to thinking and
research in the negative emotions leading to illnesses like anxieties and
depressions. There existed a hard determinism. The goal of therapy was to
remediate and remove disabling conditions.
Recently, psychology and psychotherapy have embarked on the new premise that
positive emotions and positive events contribute to the health of
individuals. Furthermore, we now realise that removal of symptoms does not
necessarily progress on to well-being and happiness. When we have survived
our pain, we do not always return to thriving, let alone fully potentiate in
life. It is progressive that we have researched and improved on prevention
of various ills. However, it is time that health professionals be as
concerned with strength as with weakness, be as interested in building the
best things in life as in repairing the worst. We need to be as involved
with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology.
We should develop interventions to increase well being, not just to decrease
pain and misery.
Human beings are drawn to the future rather than just being influenced by
the past. With will and choice we can build positive conditions to promote
well-being. Psychology and psychotherapy can move from helping the
individual to survive without symptoms, to thrive and even to flourish.
Professor Martin Seligman, former President of the American Psychological
Association has led the way. His groundbreaking work has been published
chronologically from “Helplessness: On Development, Depression and Death” to
“Learned Optimism: How to Change your Mind and Your Life” to “Authentic
Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for
Lasting Fulfilment” to the latest, “Flourish: A visionary New Understanding
of Happiness and Well-being”
In this brief talk to the World Buddhist Conference, the presenter, founder of the Metta Clinic will touch on three of the five elements promoting flourishing and include the
Buddhist teachings and practices which not only enhance well-being but also
promotes peace, happiness and ultimately enlightenment.