Dr. Bill Jones is an Australian psychologist,
born in Newcastle, New South Wales. His early life would be
noted by other psychologists as being exceptionally traumatic.
Bill’s mother died during childbirth. Bill, when seven years
old, was rejected by his new stepmother to the extent that his
father was told that he had to choose between his son and his
new wife and their family to be. Against that background, Bill
was left to live with his paternal grandparents who were not
well off financially, his grandfather invalided out from work
through injury. Some start to life!
Bill Jones has then every reason in the world
to look at life’s cards that had been dealt to him in a very
negative way. He has the perfect ‘get-out’ and ‘excuses’
for any failures that he might have had in his life. However,
Bill Jones is one of the happiest and most positively motivated
people you could ever wish to meet.
Rather than say he was raised in poverty, he
relates that he was raised in a home that was notable for its
great love and kindness, wisdom and encouragement to succeed. He
accepted his lot and even while very young began to make the
best of it. By the time he was 14 years old he was working in a
department store during school holidays, and then working
part-time till he left school.
He took a scholarship to go to Teachers
College. “We had absolutely no money, and this (scholarship)
offered free study and three pounds, five shillings and tuppence
a week!” On the face of it, this opportunity had to be taken.
He graduated successfully as a teacher, but
then the Australian Army wanted a part of him as well, for that
quaint practice called National Service, known colloquially as
‘Nasho’ in the sunburned country. Now Australia is well
known for its adherence to the ‘Tall Poppy’ syndrome -
anyone moving upwards has to be dragged down to herd level as
soon as possible. Bill Jones had three months of ‘Nasho’
being called “Effing Teach” by his platoon corporal, but
this didn’t get Bill down. “Army was fun. I just ran along
with the nonsense. Enjoy this, I said to myself, this is
After the boots and battledress he was posted
to teach in country New South Wales in a place called Dungog
Central for three years, where he found that he also became the
Scout master. He enjoyed the time and became involved in
international training courses for scout leaders, all of which
brought him back to Newcastle.
It also brought him back to study. “The
salaries for teachers was so low, but if you got three
university subjects you got an increase in pay.” He looked at
which subjects he could do at night that took up the least
number of evenings, and one of those was Psychology. He ticked
the box and began studying it and received a Distinction in
Psychology 1 and just kept going. Perhaps through his own
background, he became interested in gaining insight into how
people thought. Without realizing it, he was becoming a
psychologist. In retrospect, Bill admits he made the right
career choice for all the wrong reasons!
Through seven years of part-time study he
graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in
Psychology. To gain these qualifications he was forced to do an
animal study and in this followed successions of rat populations
that were fed normal, low protein or high protein diets. “I
felt sorry for the rats in the study,” said Bill, showing the
softer side of his nature, as the deprived group did not do
well. Bill Jones is certainly an animal lover.
The next step up the ladder is a doctorate
and he was paid to go to London by the university, to study
there, being awarded his Doctorate of Philosophy following his
studies in Social Cognition and Self Concept. This was human
studies, and much more to the (now Dr.) Bill’s liking.
On returning to Newcastle, he continued
lecturing at the university and also ran a psychology clinic out
of a local GP practice. This in turn brought him into a face to
face relationship with the problems being experienced by the
general public, particularly with regard to chronic pain and its
management. Applying himself to this brought him towards
clinical hypnosis and the effects of meditation on chronic pain.
He began to study meditation, and Buddhist
meditation in particular, becoming well known to the abbot of
the Thai temple in Sydney, a Buddhist monk who came from Chiang
Mai. “This honed my skills in meditation,” he said, and he
then went further to bring western psychology practice and
Buddhist philosophy together. “The Buddha was the first
psychologist,” said Bill, with an obvious feeling.
By now he was becoming well known himself and
was invited to give lectures all over the world, and he would
stop over in Bangkok on these international lecture tours.
“Thailand’s a Buddhist country and I wanted to learn
Buddhist philosophy.” He also found that despite having been
raised as a Christian, he felt more comfortable with Buddhist
teachings, a faith that he adheres to today.
He also found that the Australian way of life
had become less appealing and three years ago closed his
practice and resigned from his university appointments. “It
was time for a new adventure in life,” so he came to Chiang
Mai, a decision he does not regret. “I’m very contented
where I am. I don’t want to change anything. I’m enjoying
‘Now’ includes charity work and guest
lecturing as well as reading, swimming, music and cooking!
It was the satirist Tom Lehrer who in the early 1960’s
said, “Life is like a sewer. You get out of it, what you put
into it!” Dr. Bill Jones has put buckets of positive thoughts
and effort into his. He deserves the satisfaction and fun he is