Can the Mind and Emotions Impact Health?

Can the Mind and Emotions Impact Health?

I’m very happy to introduce my brother, Allan Abbass, who has just published his first book! You may remember meeting him in this post. I invited him to tell us about the career path that led to the writing of this book, something I have a feeling you will find very interesting. Take it away Al!

While working as a family doctor and emergency doctor for a few years after graduating from medicine, I noticed I was seeing many people arriving with health concerns and symptoms who seemed to want more to talk than to have tests, medications or referrals to specialists. It became clear to me that emotional factors were the underlying causes driving them to come to doctors.

My training had not prepared me to understand or respond to these patients.

Around this same time, I began to read a great deal about the link between spirituality, mind, body and health. I began to wonder how much of the physical and emotional problems my patients had were stemming from psychological and spiritual factors impacting on the body. This curiosity led me to seek advanced psychotherapy training to learn how the body holds unresolved or unprocessed feelings and how I could help these patients. This changed my career path. When I learned about this approach, a treatment called Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy or ISTDP, I decided to dedicate myself to teaching, researching and practicing this system of therapy that can be used to directly diagnose when unresolved feelings are causing health complaints; symptoms like anxiety or depression, or relationship problems.

In the past 15 years, I’ve written over 170 papers and have been fortunate to be invited all over the world to teach this approach. I’ve provided training programs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Poland, Australia, USA and Canada.

It’s a sad fact that interruptions to early attachments result in a wide array of symptoms, physical problems, anxiety, and personal barriers to closeness. Such adverse life events often make it hard to see what we have been doing to avoid human attachment and the feelings that new attachments stir up. What I love most about what I do is working closely with people to help them overcome internal obstacles, face difficult and frightening feelings and to overcome long-held patterns that have been self-harming. It is an awesome privilege to get to see the person underneath these problems blossom before my eyes with a relatively short treatment approach.

The book I’ve written, Reaching Through Resistance; Advanced Psychotherapy Techniques, is a detailed guide to understanding and using this treatment method. I called it Reaching Through Resistance because the whole approach is determination on the part of the therapist to know the person beneath the symptoms and behaviours: the person as he or she was meant to be.

Sorry! Dr. Abbass won’t be taking any more questions though you can still leave comments and we can talk about the topic among ourselves!

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About The Author


I am passionate about writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age, now available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. I never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?