2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Life-changing Advice and Insight, 2 Sept. 2013
When I found this book, I was a bit taken aback at the huge amount of five-star reviews. I have just finished reading it (for the first time, and will be rereading it many times more) and the first thing I had to do was add my review as well so people know that all these ratings are 100% genuine.
I've been severely emetophobic for 20 years, with the phobia starting when I was a child. I effectively have no memories of how it feels to live or think 'non-phobically'. I've tried talking therapy, EMDR, CBT, exposure, relaxation tapes, countless books on overcoming anxiety/worry/depression in an attempt to beat this fear. Most had little or no effect, with exception of exposure therapy. After exposure therapy I improved quite a bit but it still felt there was something 'deep rooted' that hadn't been taken care of.
I think the biggest issue with traditional therapies is that they were far too focused SPECIFICALLY only on vomit. What makes this book truly remarkable is that it doesn't focus on the specific thing, but rather the negative thinking styles that perpetuate the fear. Most of the book is about you becoming aware of your own thoughts and behaviour in relation to your personality. The concept of "locus of control" is a true revelation. Once you grasp all the ideas in this book, it feels like a switch has been flicked inside and you realise recovery truly becomes possible.
Another feature of the book is that it wholeheartedly tells you that you can get over your fear (but backed with scientific evidence, so it's not a wishy-washy esoteric The Secret style thing). Virtually all other books on anxiety and depression leave you more helpless because you begin to understand all the reasons why your thinking is wrong, yet confronted with medicalised terms and diagnoses makes your fear even bigger and more impossible to tackle.
I find it particularly refreshing that Rob Kelly implies lots of sick people 'wallow' in their diagnosis (CFS, ME, addiction etc) and believe that they have no more control over what happens to their health. It's an uncomfortable truth to confront, and people who are not prepared to get better will probably be freaking out on their support forums or youtube channels, but this is a vital turning point for finding the belief you can rewire your mind for good. (For the record, I personally live with a potentially serious physical illness requiring indefinite 3-month health checks, and I've always felt repelled by the 'woe is me' attitude that many patients perpetuate in online forums and groups).
I'm just at the beginning of using all the techniques learned in this book in my daily life so I'm far from cured yet. But as proof of its effectiveness, I applied the 'locus of control' way of thinking whilst watching exposure videos and was able to breeze through the most graphic ones without a single pang of anxiety. When doing exposure therapy, it would take a lot of relaxation exercise and repeated watching (often 30 minutes) before my anxiety could be lowered. And even with all the effort, I still got that little 'jump' of anxiety right before the moment when someone would be sick if I came back to video I haven't watched for a while. All this was GONE when I watched the videos whilst using Rob's Thrive techniques.
The book does say that you can be cured of emetophobia without doing exposure at all, but I personally think a combination of the two is most beneficial. Just getting used to the sight and sound of vomiting takes you closer to believing that you can 'tolerate it happening' instead of 'not being able to cope' which is one of the core theories in the book. And I can also attest that using the techniques here will lessen your anxiety, thus making exposure therapy far easier than with traditional relaxation/CBT techniques.
So in conclusion, thank you Rob for giving me real hope that can reach that happy place on the road full of potholes (this is an illustration in the book :P). Once I am completely rid of this fear, I really hope I will be able to meet you in person to express my gratitude!