Category Archives: Book Review

Book “The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy”

By Donald Robertson

By Donald Robertson

I took the Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy in mid 2012 (more about my background of hypnotherapy here). The author of this book, Don Robertson was the course facilitator and trainer. I learnt my first “proper” meditation (dehypnosis!) with him, including my favourite “leaves on the stream“. So until today I can still always relate his Scottish accent with meditation, relaxation and hypnosis, because of how much I learnt from this knowledgeable man from Scotland at that time.

I believe this is the most well-informed and extensive textbook in this subject, a non-state hypnosis approach that is based on scientific research and clinical trials. It is nothing like any other books on hypnosis that you will find out there. It starts from the basics (history), theories, and practice of it.

So yes, it is highly recommendable to anyone from a scientific backgrounds (even if you are an engineer or programmer), who are interested in hypnotherapy and CBT, to have a go. I’m more than happy to answer any question you may have, just get in touch! Though, the most suitable readers of this book (i.e. those who will gain enormous benefit) are existing CBT practitioners who would like to include hypnotherapy into their practices and make them even more effective.



By Elyn R. Saks

By Elyn R. Saks




这本书蛮厚的,同时也表示她写得挺仔细,其中她在早期也患有厌食症(anorexia)、强迫症(OCD)、抑郁症(depression)、疑病症(hypochondria也称“健康焦虑症”health anxiety)。它不只帮助读者更了解精神分裂症从患病初期,否定诊断拒绝治疗等,到后期的选择性接受,整个心理路程与经历,也可以从患者的角度,去看到社会、医疗、教育等的不公。





A Beautiful Mind (2001/film)

I categorised this post under “book review”, though there is a book under this same title, I’m writing about the 2001 film, directed by Ron Howard.

The book/film is based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel prize winner in Economic sciences, who was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia, with delusions and hallucinations.

I started to watch the film without knowing it has anything to do with mental illnesses, just thought it’s just another biographical film (like one that I just watched last week, “The man who knew infinity”, based on the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian mathematical genius).

It is a film portraying paranoid schizophrenia well, so well that when we, as audience see things through the eyes of Russel Crowe (John Nash), we might not even realise that those are all delusions and hallucinations, and couldn’t differentiate that those are not even reality.

The film also emphasises the importance of family supports and continuation of medication (which according to some sources of the web, is not based on what John Nash really did). During the later part of his life, he got on without taking any medicine, would still hallucinate but just do not respond to them. This is the part that I personally like in particular, sometimes medicine may not stop all the hallucinations completely, but when you’re aware which is reality and which aren’t, you can carry on with life, with them being there. There was a scene when a man approached him, and he had to ask his student who walked past, “Can you see him?”, to make sure that the man was real, not his hallucination!

I’d recommend it to family and friends of those who are diagnosed as schizophrenia, it does help understanding the illness better to quite an extent, and of course for those who’d like to understand the illness better.

Introducing “Recovered Grace: Schizophrenia”

by Harris Ng Yoke Meng

This book was bought from MPH at RM38 many years ago. It is now no longer available in most of the major bookstores in Malaysia, but I believe it’s possible to order it at MPH or Kinokuniya.

The book serves as an inspirational story to sufferers of mental illness and their caregivers, and for me, more importantly and personally as a mental health professional, it helps us to care for the mentally ill more sensitively and effectively.

I remember Harris talked about revealing his illness to his then 3 month girl friend Violet, on a Valentine’s day, how she was shocked and then willingly going to see his psychiatrist together. This reminds me a lot about the patients in our clinic, who sometimes bring their new partner to see us, wanting their partner to understand their illness better and sometimes planning their future based on that. You might guess that experience like this would scare them off, but no, quite often, those partners are just like Violet in the book, having deep love and attachment for the patient that they can also accept this part of them.

Towards the end of the book there was also some discussions on the media’s portrayals of the mentally ill committing crimes, which often end in homicide, murder or suicide.

Such bizarre stories, though real, often stigmatise the sickness. Although there are hundreds of thousands of mental health cases, perhaps only one in a thousand end up in such a mess. The press much provide follow-up reports. What happened after that? … Should society continue to view mental illness with deadly fear?

What to do when one who suffers from mental illness committed crimes due to his mental states?

Introducing “The Quiet Room”

By Lori Schiller

By Lori Schiller

It is brilliant book, very informative, from the views of different persons (the patient herself, parents, brother, close friend/housemate during the onset, attending psychiatrist etc). It gave me a feeling that I could go into her head and understand, for example, why certain patients who clearly do hear voices denied it so strongly; how one might interpret those voices, so differently from practitioners’ way. In addition, it suggests the insight of how immediate family members handle the fact that their closed one is a “schizophrenic”, and not just pretending, manipulating or attention seeking.

Also here’s a great quote from her psychiatrist,

A long time ago I realized that, as psychiatrists, we had to have a healthy respect for our own humanness, and our own smallness in the face of what we were dealing with. If a person got better, we could appreciate that we had done a great job, but we also needed to realize that God – or luck – was on our side. If the person got worse, we had to keep ourselves from feeling that we hadn’t done enough. For the truth is, we were powerless in so many of these situations. We did what we could, but sometimes the illness was just bigger than we were.

And from the mother,

How many times over the past few years had I wondered why we had fought so hard to keep Lori alive. She was so miserable. She was so unhappy. She was only staying alive to please us. …


问了几间大众书局分行才买到的这本书,售价RM28 (可凭书局会员获得10%折扣)。看过作者在脸书分享读者的读后感,外加朋友也介绍,所以想看看。







Depression & ECT

Can we allow a severely depressed patient to make the decision?