Top critical review
36 people found this helpful
Didn't work for me - more report than guide, sadly flawed.
on 5 August 2004
This book is an extended essay sketching out how to be your own CBT therapist- with considerable flaws. Very interesting, I know a lot more about CBT and Bipolar disorder than i did, with lots to think about and what looked like good advice, but very difficult to make any use of it because being too academic it manages to fall foul of and exacerbate rather than work around problems that are classic features of mood disorder. As a self-help book it's pants.
There's not enough support here- you have to be academically-gifted, focused, balanced, in control and emotionally literate enough to whizz through and select useful and appropriate information and techniques, form an action plan and think about and work on quite complicated exercises by yourself without getting bogged down, when you are in fact likely to not be concentrating very well, over-thinking, distractable and easily over-whelmed and/or turned into a dogged stress-ball and end up either feeling awful because you can't draw up a very good life chart/mood chart/schedule or sort of god like with the agitated intellectualising and wide-angle, long term perspective - or both. Very difficult - I failed miserably, got into quite a state many times with this book. The information is also weak in relation to mixed states, rapid cycling and other conditions which involve mood swings and intense disruptive moods.
By the title, and from what i knew about CBT, I expected a 'guided' simple yet comprehensive, practical user-friendly presentation. I needed a guide that drew out of me the relevant information for understanding what was wrong and how to deal with it and that would take me through a programme. Whilst some people might get on fine with this book, I don't think my problems with it were anything out of the ordinary for people experiencing mood problems.
I've lost many days and tears to this book which should have been more helpful. It is a real shame: I warmed to the author despite my struggle with this as a book. Face to face therapy and acedemic writing skills are both very different to what was really needed in a book presenting CBT models and techniques for self-help. In future, Jan Scott and the series editor, Peter Cooper, would do well to collaborate with someone who writes good modern guided learning material, experts in learning psychology as it relates to making useful books.