Dr. Mark Atkinson is a holistic medical doctor, probably best known for his work on the nations best loved breakfast show, GMtv, as well as work for many of the largest newspapers in the UK.
Dr. Atkinson will be presenting Total Well-Being at the 2010 European EFT & Energy Psychology Conference, which takes place at the Europa Hotel, Gatwick this November. We thought it would be a great idea for you to get to know Mark a little better, so TheAMT's Josh Alliston caught up with Mark earlier this week, finding out a little bit more about his history, and what has drawn him into the world of holistic medicine and Meridian Energy Therapies.
Josh Alliston for TheAMT: Dr. Mark Atkinson is a well known name, thanks to your work on GMtv and in national newspapers such as the Mail-on-Sunday, but how did you start your work with these big media names, and what were the main areas were you asked to comment on?
Dr. Mark Atkinson: The interesting thing about these opportunities was that they were really presented to me by the universe. I didn’t go looking for them. I was just doing what I was doing and either received a phone call or an e-mail me inviting me to write for a magazine, or in the case of TV appear on GMTV.
The GMTV experience in particular was really great. It allowed me to showcase my take on the integrative holistic approach to health and healing – which in a nutshell is about addressing the underlying issues (physical, energetic, emotional, psychological and even spiritual) that are preventing the individual from recovering from their health issue, whilst simultaneously discovering how to live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Most of my work with GMTV involved working with case studies that had long-standing health issues which allopathic medicine hadn’t been able to help with. Two of the three did really well – this was great for them and a delight (and relief) for me. Today when journalists interview me they are usually interested in me providing my drug-free mind-body advice for a particular health issue. However my work has evolved a lot over the last year or two and today I tend to comment mostly on issues relating to addictions and mental / emotional health as well as well-being, happiness and human potential development.
AMT: After training as a medical doctor what was the catalyst for you looking into 'alternative' methods?
Dr.MA:It was actually during my training as a medical doctor that I became interested in alternative or non-mainstream perspectives on health and life. I did a lot of travel as a young man, including the Amazon (Peru), Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt, China, India and even Afghanistan. Meeting the indigenous peoples opened my eyes to the fact that the majority of people in the world use what doctors would label as natural/alternative/complementary medicine. What’s more many of the traditional medicine systems including Chinese medicine and Ayurveda placed such an important emphasis on the mind-body-soul connection, on diet and lifestyle and living in harmony with ones environment. They also all included and gave central importance to the energy body and the flow of energy through the energy body. I found all of this fascinating. It appealed to my common sense –and I also had a variety of experiences that left me with no doubt whatsoever that the essence and fabric of the universe was energy, consciousness and love.
Whilst at medical school I established an organisation called the Society of MINDS. The idea was to invite individuals with an ‘alternative’ take on life and health to share their perspective with doctors, nurses and medical students. We had a variety of people from acupuncturists, healers and personal development gurus to life after death experts and even the controversial David Icke (the lecture theatre was packed out for his talk!). My intention wasn’t to convince anyone that these perspectives were valid or the way forward, but really just to stimulate debate – which it most certainly did.
I qualified as a medical doctor in 1997, however the long working hours, over-reliance on medications, de-personalisation of the patients and lack of knowledge in respect of how to really help my patients become more healthy and vital (especially those with chronic health issues) led to me choosing to moving on from allopathic medicine. I stepped into the unknown and embarked on a journey (which continues to this day) to learn about what it means to be a truly healthy conscious human being. I have since that time done a lot of personal growth work (and in deed most of what I teach is based on my own experiences of what worked for me and subsequently my patients). I have also taken some training in meditation, hypnotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (a pioneering mindfulness based values-directed psychological therapy), functional diagnostic medicine, (a personalised nutrition-based approach to optimum health and healing) and of course EMO. It’s been a fascinating process and I know I have a lot more to learn.
AMT: At the 2010 European EFT & Energy Psychology Conference you will be presenting Total Well-being: Your Gateway into a Truly Healthy & Fulfilling Lifestyle. What areas will your presentation go into, and how will GoE Practitioners benefit from it in their day-to-day lives?
Dr.MA:My talk is the fruit of my experiences and investigations into the nature of health, healing and consciousness so far. It has a really important message and it’s this – in any given moment we are being invited to wake up and grow up, to discover who we really are at the deepest possible level. This deepest level of our self is what I refer to as the True Self or Evolutionary Self. The True Self is the evolutionary impulse within each of us that is calling us to evolve into our fullest potential.
Because if we are to meet and overcome the many challenges we are facing individually and collectively, including an epidemic of chronic lifestyle related illness, lack of true meaning and purpose, lifeless relationships, over-consumption and depletion of the earth’s resources, global warming, the population explosion, rapidly approaching peak oil (the time at which global oil supplies reach a peak), the mass extinction of plant and animal species, nuclear threats and increasing poverty are bringing us to a critical juncture in time, we need healthy, mature conscious adults who willing to evolve into their fullest potential and in doing so contribute to the well-being of society and the planet.
What’s truly exciting is the fact that millions of people throughout the world who are starting to wake up to their True Self. Illness can be an invitation to wake up, grow up and to awaken to the True Self. However if as a practitioner we aren’t aware of this and don’t know how to facilitate this level of change and transformation then I believe we are experiencing a fraction of our personal and professional potential. Most practitioners work at what I refer to as a level one or level two healing approach. Level one is about treating symptoms, level two about addressing the underlying causes and contributors. However either of these alone is in my opinion incomplete – if you are committed to personally and professionally working at the deepest level of transformation and supporting the waking up process - and a lot of practitioners do want to work at this level – then the work we do needs to be done in a level three context. Level three takes the view that so called symptoms are at one level, indicators that certain qualities and capacities of wholeness are waiting to be birthed through that individual. For example and most commonly: honesty, humility, integrity or compassion. Coming to this realisation and working in an integrative way – one that addresses levels one, two and three simultaneously has completely revolutionised my work. It’s also helped facilitate deep level change in many of my patients and students who are studying in my Academy of Human Potential (www.humanpotential.uk.com)
In my total well-being talk I am going to go into this in more depth, whilst also providing an overview of how to facilitate this deep level change and transformation.
AMT: Where would you like to see yourself & Total Well-Being in 5 and 10 time?
Dr.MA:My hope is that within 5 years (over 200,000 people) and 10 years (over a million) people have been inspired to create total well-being and true happiness in their lives through attending my talks/workshops, reading my books, training with me through the Academy, joining my Total Well-Being Club (www.totalwellbeinginteractive.com) and participating in one of my True Happiness teleclasses and support groups.
AMT: Is there anyone, in the healthcare industry or in the wider world, who has greatly influenced you throughout your life & career?
Dr.MA:A lot of people – the number one person is my wife Serena. Her commitment to truth and love has been a source of great inspiration to me. Other ‘famous’ people (including the books they have written) include:
Silvia Hartmann (Oceans of Energy), Eckhart Tolle (The New Earth), Michael Brown (The Presence Process), David Simon (Free to Love, Free to Heal), Gay Hendricks (Conscious Living), Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap), Debbie Ford (Dark side of the light chasers), Pia Mellody (Facing codependence), Chris Johnstone (Find Your Power), Janae & Barry Weinhold (Breaking Free from the Co-dependency Trap), David Richo (How to be an adult in relationships), Bill Plotkin (Nature and the Human Soul), Ya’Acov Darling Khan (Movement Medicine), Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication), Byron Katie (A Thousand Names for Joy), Richard Miller (Yoga Nidra), Stephen Bodian (Wake up Now), Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse (Learning to Balance Your Life), David Korten (The Great Turning), Barbara Marx Hubbard (Conscious Evolution), Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God), Bruce Lipton (The Biology of Belief) and Duane Elgin (Voluntary Simplicity).
AMT: One final question, and one that I think many GoE members would be keen to know - after a busy day at the office, what therapy/technique do you most often use to unwind?
Dr.MA:My number one way to unwind (and my favourite way) is playing with my 4 ½ year old daughter Annabelle. Having Annabelle is my life has really helped me to get in touch with the playful side of me – she also helps me to stay grounded and real – she has been such a blessing to me and to my wife. When I am stressed I tend to either share my inner reality (thoughts and feelings) with my wife or best friend, use EMO or use a emotional processing technique called Cradling (I’ll be talking about this in my presentation). And I also practice (on most days) a meditative technique called Yoga Nidra, which has played an important part in my own unfolding and spiritual growth. quite simply and for me has had such a profoundly positive influence on me and my spiritual growth.
Dr Mark Atkinson MBBS BSc (HONS) FRSPH FBSIM is one of the world's leading experts within the field of emotional healthcare and mind-body medicine. As a practising medical doctor he advocates an integrative holistic approach to health and healing, one that is personalised, compassionate and focused on addressing the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and environmental dimensions of his patients. He is the co-founder of The British College of Integrative Medicine and founder of The Academy of Human Potential. His approach has been endorsed by leading doctors such as Dr Andrew Weil, Dr Christiane Northrup, Professor Karol Sikora, Dr Bernie Siegel and Dr Larry Dossey, featured in the national press including The Daily Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times and showcased to millions of people on Europe's most popular breakfast TV show - GMTV. His website is www.drmarkatkinson.com