The Gift of Words (Part 2 of 2)

My childhood hours spent lost in reading in the Burnaby Public Library, changed my life.

I would later discover the enduring value of perspective shifting and empathy – in my personal life, in my role as a father and in my vocation as a physician.

Today, having taken formal courses in cognitive therapy, I teach my patients to manage their worries, frustrations and sadness by trying on different perspectives. We can learn to transform how we feel by challenging our beliefs, questioning our assumptions and changing how we think.

Empathy has helped me see my patients’ health within the context of their whole lives and how they experience them. It has helped me understand how they cope with illness, injury, loss and chronic conditions.

My childhood home was filled with words. My parents had many magazine subscriptions, including The Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, Children’s Digest and just about every women’s magazine in the 70s and 80s. We all read the newspaper daily.

There were books in every room. In fact, we had a dictionary beside the kitchen table that we referred to regularly to settle disagreements about a words spelling, meaning or usage. When I think back, I can’t recall any vantage point in our home from which I would not see a book.

My life was so enriched by books – the shared perspective of many writers and, on a number of occasions, transformed by great books.

As a child, I hoped that one day I could do the same for others – that through words, I could bring inspiration, comfort, hope and a new perspective to someone else.

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About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
This entry was posted in Empathy, The Qualities of a Child, Wisdom, Your Calling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Gift of Words (Part 2 of 2)

  1. mysterycoach says:

    This sounds like Pscho-Cybernetics. Which I’ve read almost through, then go back and start again. “Today, having taken formal courses in cognitive therapy, I teach my patients to manage their worries, frustrations and sadness by trying on different perspectives. We can learn to transform how we feel by challenging our beliefs, questioning our assumptions and changing how we think.”

    • With my patients, I use Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky’s book, “Mind Over Mood” which is a handbook based on the cognitive behavioural therapy work of Aaron Beck. By coincidence, Maxwell Malz’s classic self-help book “Psycho-Cybernetics” was a book that I read as a kid. It does include cognitive behavioural techniques as well.

  2. mysterycoach says:

    I wish I had read it when I was a kid. I think it should be required reading, as we get older it can be more difficult to wrap our minds around the concept. I Googled the book you referenced, maybe I’ll get it. Someone else I know was just talking about Beck last week, I started to read up on it and then closed the window. Out of sight out of mind for me, I’m easily distracted. Thank you!

  3. elainewillis says:

    Of course, you know, your words do inspire and comfort. I repost your BLOG – and email appropriate posts to individuals – choosing from your topics as you might choose a prescription medication, with deliberate care. And, if you check your site stats, you will know that many read but don’t respond. We all thank you for taking the time to write.

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