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Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart Hardcover – Jan 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony Books; 1 edition (Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609607529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609607527
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.4 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,257,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

According to ancient legends, alchemists use a magical philosopher's stone to transmute lead into gold. In Emotional Alchemy, Tara Bennett-Goleman shows readers how they can use this alchemist metaphor to transform emotional confusion (lead) into insightful clarity (gold). And what does the magic stone represent? "Mindfulness", a lifelong practice that can bring readers more joy and contentment than gold, according to Bennett-Goleman. "Mindfulness means seeing things as they are without trying to change them", she writes. "The point is to dissolve our reactions to disturbing emotions, being careful not to reject the emotion itself".

Those who have never entered this practice will find a concise and articulate teacher in Bennett-Goleman, who leads national workshops with her husband, author Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence). What makes this book such an exciting breakthrough is Bennett-Goleman's ability to apply Buddhist mindfulness to Western psychology. She shows how emotional alchemy can be used to address typical habits, such as mistrust, fear of rejection, feeling unlovable. Readers will also find fascinating scientific facts on how emotional alchemy affects brain chemistry and even cancer survival. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Jones on 28 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
Although it's written in a fairly long-winded style that doesn't really suit me this was nevertheless a great book.
It explains Jeff Young's "Schema Therapy" appraoch in a simple form that anyone could understand. It also shows how Buddhist psychology and even the most modern kinds of Therapy are very similar in many ways; the key to many emotional problems in both approaches is awareness (or mindfulness).
It goes on to explain the Buddhist way of thinking and how this could be benficial in life for those who are interested but it's by no means a religious plug.
If you had to read one self help book ever, this wouldn't be a bad choice.
See also J. Young and J. Klosko "Reinventing your life" for the approach that this book was 'based' on.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Stephen J. Wooding VINE VOICE on 2 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
Alchemy - the science and art of transforming the seemingly worthless into the priceless. Bennett-Goleman draws mainly from the Bhuddist philosophy and psychology of "mindfulness" (also familiar as to fans of Star Wars) - taking the time to examine our negative (seemingly worthless) states in order to find what lies underneath them which brings with it an awareness of *why* we feel the things we feel and think the way we think. And with awareness comes choice. This book is a very good introduction to the concepts and application of mindfulness, majoring on using it to examine our 'schemas' - patterns of negative thought, emotion and action. I found it to be engaging and well-written in a very accessible style and flow too. I like texts that provoke thought, and this one certainly did. If you want to rethink the way you think, or are just interested in an alternative to running away from your fears, read it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Lawton VINE VOICE on 14 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the other reviewers points out that this book is rather 'long winded'. That's putting it mildly. The author beats you death with the same facts for page after page. It's like a bizarre form of Aversion Therapy, she mentions words such as 'Mindfulness' so many times that you feel like screaming or running out the house and punching the first Buddhist you see. You may've heard of the saying 'If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.' Well this is how it came about.

You'll need a greater degree of tolerance than I possess to stick with her and I found myself skipping quite a lot. It's a shame that an editor didn't take this sprawling book in hand because the author has a lot of interesting information to get across and can be a very engaging writer at times.

The book is essentially about Buddhist mindfulness (uh, that word again!) filtered through the lens of psychoanalysis and it provides an in depth study of the way in which negative patterns of thought and behaviour are capable of controlling our lives. If you're a therapist reading this as part of CPD work, you may find it interesting but ultimately her case studies don't tell us quite enough to be particularly useful. If you're reading it simply to try and understand your own inner drives there is much of value in the pages but you'll need a fair amount of patience to keep at it.

The other thing I didn't like about the book was her tendency to name dropping. Is there a single Tibetan lama who hasn't taught her? And when she refers to the Dalai Lama as 'my teacher' .... well, he's everyone's teacher, dear! Also the fact that she lives in a privileged world where she and others in her circle can take themselves off to spiritual retreats for months at a time or go to Japan to learn the etiquette of Tea Ceremony sets off a few warning bells. It doesn't necessarily devalue what she says but makes me question how grounded some of her recommendations actually are.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alchemy2011 on 4 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My GP recommended this book to me when I was suffering a severe bout of stress and anxiety.

This book has taught me more about myself in the 15 hours it took me to read, than I have learnt in my 25 years of life.

The author is a clinical psychologist first and a Buddhist second. The empirical style of the book really gripped me. Most points are supported by a real life experience the author had with a client or a scientific study.

The book provides a manual on how to adapt disturbing emotions, deal effectively with malapative schemas and bring about lasting change. I think to really understand this book you have to think about it, re-read it and practise mindfulness and meditation. I've been studying it for 2 weeks. My physical symptoms have greatly diminished. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to develop better ways of dealing with stress, overcome unhealthy emotional habits or generally lead a happier, healthier life.
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