These thoughts brought me to a new approach to the human being, his illness and his health, his functioning and his dysfunctioning. It was the starting point of a fundamental way of thinking, which forms the basis of my therapy and reaches beyond the world of health care, having a much wider scope, as I shall put forward in this book.

How did I ever happen to choose a direction different from the one in which my training had pointed me? Why did I want to create something new in a profession in which almost all creativity has been killed by commercial science? For that is how I see traditional medicine, as a commercial science. What counts is knowledge without feelings, based on knowing facts.

But I chose the creative approach: a blend of knowledge and feelings. I do not think it was a matter of choice. It happened as a consequence of my nature and also of my observations, of all those impressions I received over the years, as a human being, as a physician, as an observer of the environment.

Seventeen years ago I started as a medical advisor to an insurance company. In the Netherlands every employee is insured against loss of wages in case of inability to work during illness. I was known in the industry as an insurance physician. It was unusual to start that way while so young. My colleagues were older specialists at the end of their career.  They had seen enough during their lifetimes, had treated enough patients, and studied enough case histories.  A medical advisor played a different role, focusing not upon the treatment, but much more on the policing factor. Yet I saw it as a distinct occupation. For me, a young doctor, there was the advantage of having to concern myself solely with the diagnostic process, aided only by my eyes, my hands, my ears, and possibly also a stethoscope and a reflex hammer, to reach a conclusion in the shortest possible time.

A medical advisor’s mind is not distracted by thoughts on the type of treatment either, because that falls outside his jurisdiction. Active treatment is handled by another sector of the medical profession. During those years I examined forty to sixty people in the course of a regular office day. How is it possible to make a quick diagnosis under those conditions? How do you decide whether someone is or is not ill? These were the questions I asked myself continually and I saw those questions in relation to people’s work environment, their social circumstances, and their history of complaints. The combination was what intrigued me, because a housewife with the flu somehow continues to function, maybe at a reduced level, but she functions, without any consequences for society, without the consequence of financial assistance, without consequences for a factory that has to operate around the clock