A graduate of the distinguished Otago Medical School in Dunedin, Dr Mark Whittington has more than 30 years’ experience working at the clinical coalface as a Consultant Psychiatrist. 

Over the years I have helped thousands of patients with a wide spectrum of psychiatric problems and disorders. Through what amounts to quite literally a lifetime spent as a hands-on clinician, I have gained deep insight into the unique problems faced by both patients and their therapists that are now being compounded by the challenges of frenetic, exponential change fuelled by unprecedented technological advances.

I have watched the inexorable spread of mental illness around the world with growing concern. I am intimately acquainted with a multiplicity of seemingly insurmountable challenges daily encountered by practitioners. I see practices under mounting pressure and mental illness ballooning into a global pandemic with potentially catastrophic financial consequences for governments and businesses. I continue to dedicate myself to the quest for innovative new ways to help prevent mental illness and by enabling practitioners to ease the suffering of more people in less time. In the ongoing absence of basic psychological education, the tide will continue to rise. We must give people the essential tools they need to keep themselves psychologically healthy. And we must do it now!

“We teach our children basic hygiene to keep them safe from disease. When it comes to keeping them safe from the scourge of mental illness, we teach them nothing”.

I have written and published a number of books and every one of them brought me a crucial step closer to our latest books, Metaphorical Therapy: Therapy at the Speed of Sight and Shrinkage: Making Molehills out of Mountains.

Over the past six years, we have taken a quantum leap forward in our understanding of how metaphors and visual processing work. We have a much clearer understanding of how metaphors operate in the context of cognition, communication, psychotherapy, and psychoeducation. This has been largely thanks to my partner and co-writer Gaby Bush, an ex-patient and a direct beneficiary of Metaphorical Therapy. His tireless research-informed insights and wealth of experience as a professional writer, creative director, and communication strategist have helped to elevate Metaphorical Therapy to the level of a truly professional comprehensive system.

It seems fitting that the System was created in the crucible of the clinician’s office. It is even more appropriate that Metaphorical Therapy has been finessed and refined through the unique interaction of a doctor and his ex-patient.

It is wonderful stroke of serendipity that Metaphorical Therapy has been turbocharged by the understanding and enthusiasm of someone who has directly benefitted from it; someone who had the understanding and talent to rekindle and refocus my own passion for the incredible therapeutic potential of metaphors.

Our partnership continues to be extraordinarily productive delivering innovative new ways to leverage the power of Metaphorical Therapy across a host of initiatives including eBook treatment modules, a smartphone app, and even an immersive, experiential, kinaesthetic, psychoeducation tool suitable for adults, teens, and most importantly, young children. Being a Kiwi and a graduate of Otago Medical school I have not just been made proud and but also deeply inspired by my alma mater’s paradigm-shifting and now world famous Dunedin Longitudinal Study. The Study champions early intervention with basic psychological education for young children and I believe that this is where Metaphorical Therapy truly comes into its own. I have no doubt that this will be soon borne out by research that is being conducted through the University of Southern Queensland.

The Metaphorical Therapy System is, to the best of my knowledge, the world’s first complete system of expertly interlinked therapeutic metaphors that harnesses the power of both our innate, intuitive patterns of reasoning and the extraordinary speed of visual cognition. 

My systematic approach to the use of metaphors is based not only upon decades of experience but also upon thousands of doctor-patient interviews. This is, at least in part, the reason why medical professionals, mental health service providers, and employers in the private sector frequently invite me to speak about Metaphorical Therapy’s potential to address the ever more pressing need to deliver psychological education in order to help prevent mental illness.

I dream of the day when we all routinely use Metaphorical Therapy to armour ourselves and our children against the worldwide tsunami of mental suffering. They say success comes to those that dare to dream dreams and are foolish enough to try and make them come true. If we share the dream of a world less tortured by the scourge of mental illness, who knows what we might achieve?