Ep 70 The secret of work/life balance with Dr Hilton Koppe

Author Hilton Koppe on James and Ashley Stay at Home podcast

What happens when your job results in PTSD, forcing you into unexpected retirement? You write a memoir, of course!

At least, that’s what Dr Hilton Koppe did when he suddenly had to leave his practice as a rural GP.

Hilton Koppe is a writer, workshop facilitator, podcaster and doctor living on Bundjalung land on the east coast of Australia. He co-hosts the podcast Dementia In Practice, and is the author of One Curious Doctor: A Memoir of Medicine, Migration and Mortality

Alongside the broader story of his career, One Curious Doctor describes how Hilton found himself forced into abrupt retirement after a diagnosis of PTSD.

One of the book’s most effective aspects is the insight into how psychologically demanding the daily work of a GP can be. At one point, Hilton describes himself as ‘haunted’ by his patients.

In episode 70 of James and Ashley Stay at Home, we discuss countertransference – when a healthcare worker sees themselves or others in their patients and ends up taking on their pain and distress – and the experience of caring for patients who live with chronic illness, as well as Hilton’s personal distinction between burnout and PTSD.

Hilton also shares how he first decided to try creative writing as a therapeutic practice, which grew into a side gig facilitating reflective writing workshops for doctors and other health professionals. The workshop aim to deepen compassion, overcome professional isolation and reduce the risk of burnout.

Books and authors discussed in this episode
The House of God by Samuel Shem
Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales
Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief by Victoria Chang
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Listen to this episode of James and Ashley Stay at Home here, or on Apple podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, or your favourite podcast app, and find out about past episodes here.


Dark Mode launch – Sydney
Ashley in conversation with author Anna Downes
Friday 3 March, 6.30-7.30pm
Better Read Than Dead, Newtown
Free, bookings essential

Is it paranoia – or is someone watching?

Reagan Carsen knows how to keep herself safe – keep the door bolted, stay off the internet and never, ever talk to the police. But when a serial killer starts targeting women who look exactly like her, Reagan is forced to confront the dark events in her past.

Inspired by true crimes, such as the Black Dahlia murder, Dark Mode reimagines them for the modern age, weaving the insidious nature of living in an online world into the crimes to create a creeping, suffocating sense of terror for readers. 

Set over a sweltering summer, Dark Mode is a fresh, riveting thriller that highlights the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time. After all, once you’re online there’s nowhere to hide.

Authors Ashley Kalagian Blunt and JP Pomare, with Dark Mode cover

Dark Mode launch – Melbourne
Ashley in conversation with author JP Pomare
Thursday 9 March, 6.30-7.30pm
Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon St
Free, bookings essential

Join us for the launch of Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s thrilling and fast-paced novel Dark Mode.

For years, Reagan Carsen has kept her life offline. Until the day she stumbles on a shocking murder in a Sydney laneway. The victim looks just like her. Coincidence? As more murders shake the city and she’s increasingly drawn out from hiding, Reagan is forced to confront her greatest fear.

A riveting psychological thriller drawn from true events, Dark Mode delves into the terrifying reality of the dark web, and the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time.

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