Dr Claire Weekes, MBE, MB, DSc, FRACP,
has probably done more than anybody else to show people
suffering from nervous illness how to help themselves and
recover. She is renowned internationally for her special
understanding and treatment of nervous illness (eg the anxiety
state in all its forms). Her books, audio tapes,
and video, are recommended by doctors and used in treatment
centres all over the world. This remarkable woman,
who pioneered self help in psychiatry, was nominated for
the Nobel prize for medicine in 1983, and again in 1990.
She was years ahead of her time and her work is as relevant
now as it has always been.
Dr Weekes originally studied science
and was the first woman to obtain a Doctor of Science degree
at the University of Sydney. She worked
in research for a number of years before going into medicine
eventually being elected a Fellow of the Royal Australasian
College of Physicians. Being both a scientist and a physician,
Dr Weekes knows that mind and body work together.
She believes that nervous illness can begin very simply, developing
from stress and nervous fatigue to produce a pattern of symptoms
which can become more frightening to the sufferer than the
original cause of their illness or breakdown.
So afraid of “the state they are in” patients become trapped
in a cycle of nervous suffering. Dr Weekes' methods
show people how they can break out of this cycle.
She teaches them how to reverse the pattern of its development
by learning to think and behave differently. That
way they can find their own inner strength by developing the
right inner voice, which brings about permanent cure.
When she was cramming for her medicine finals Dr Weekes became nervously exhausted herself. Being a scientist first, she could figure out in scientific terms what was happening to her own biochemistry and work out what to do to put herself back together again by changing her attitude towards the situation she was in, seeing things from a different point of view and altering her mood. She found that over a period of time she could alter her stress hormones, increasing the ones that made her feel better and decreasing the ones that made her feel dreadful. Her genius lay not only in discovering this when she was down herself, but being able to communicate it to other people in simple language, so that tired minds could more easily absorb the information.
Her work, which is internationally acclaimed, is based on her own personal experience of nervous exhaustion, her experiences as a doctor helping and observing her patients with all forms of nervous illness, and her ingeniously applied scientific knowledge. She would never claim to cure people, she would always say she showed people how they could cure themselves. And many thousands have done the world over.