Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dr. John Harrison

I have begun my chapter on the intersection between health and self-help, and one of the authors I want to explore is the Australian Dr. John Harrison.
Harrison was something of a medical celebrity in Australia in the late 1980s, and through the advocacy of Louise Hay he became a worldwide influencer in the field of alternative health and the mind-body interaction. His magnum opus is a book called Love Your Disease It's Keeping You Healthy, and I hope to look at this book in some depth in this chapter.

It was an immensely influential book in its time, selling over 100,000 copies and becoming a bestseller in America.
Harrison seemed to have been combining New Thought ideas with fashionable psychology, naturopathy and Eastern-influenced health advice (he speaks glowingly of the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine). Indeed, his seeming "blame-the-victim" rhetoric is quite stark in the book, and quite unembarrassed. It is not the sort of thing that would be published now.
Harrison's reputation was later destroyed through some extremely questionable accusations of sexual misconduct, and Australian journalist Sue Williams wrote a fascinating book about this case called Death of a Doctor (2005), in which Harrison is vindicated and posited as something of a victim of the conventional medical establishment.
It's interesting to examine an Austraian book which had a great influence on American self-help writing and publishing - quite a reversal of the usual state of affairs.


Yvette said...

I have had 'Love Your Disease' for several years and NOW is my time to pick it up and truly relish the information. Thank you to Dr Harrison. I would love to hear what he is saying today. From the bottom of my heart - thankyou. Yvette

Anonymous said...

The "blame the victim" rhetoric you mention belies a misunderstanding of the nature of self guided personal inquiry. Everybody blames him or herself. This is a natural consequence of conditioning, or the acquisition of "second nature". Guilt must be addressed if a cure is to be attempted. This is explained in great detail on Harrison's website,www.m3health, in the chapter on Blame and Guilt

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous, maybe it shouldn't be seen as 'blaming' oneself/'the victim', but as 'taking responsibility' for one's own condition regardless of who and what may be 'to blame'. There's a big difference between the two, in my opinion.