Help with knots in the mind,
This review is from: Stop Worrying: Get your life back on track with CBT (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)This book is an admirable attempt to provide practical help to sufferers of an issue that seems to get overlooked and overshadowed by anxiety and depression generally.
As Ad Kerkhof and colleagues are keen to stress in this work, though, worry can be a cause of the above clinical disorders and if unchecked can certainly lead to clinical disorder and suicide. Debilitating worry is also not an uncommon disorder.
The authors define worry as unhelpful thinking habits that `trap' the sufferer in a condition where they go over and over an issue, problem or situation without doing anything to resolve it because of feelings of powerlessness, in other words trapped between `fight' and `flight.' Worry gives an illusion of doing something because it feels like preparation, when it is anything but.
The book aims to help "get your life back on track with CBT." One important point is that this is not a rushed self help piece of quackery but the fruits of academic research and theses translated from Dutch.
CBT involves the application of disciplined `training' to the mind to follow helpful thinking paths to counter unhelpful ones. The aim is a change in behaviour. The book is divided into 3 main sections; an introduction that defines worry for the purposes of the book, and some background on it and CBT. The main body of the book is a series of practical exercises to cover 4 weeks, which follow CBT exercises designed to combat worry. An important recurring principle is that the sufferer must be purposed to control their worrying thoughts so the thoughts do not control them, that the thoughts are allowed to come, but in timed parameters. Outside of these short bursts (e.g. 30 minutes per day) the worrier is encouraged to postpone their worries by a number of simple techniques e.g. clapping their hands and saying `not now.' Within the timed exercises are a number of CBT approaches that ask the worrier to imagine their thoughts and worries in different ways and generally start to control them. Examples of these would include `thought whirling' where thoughts are allowed to come, imagined as drifting clouds but not dwelt on, positive worrying e.g. dwelling on positive strengths and qualities in the same way a worrier would tend to negative ones, and using writing and other trusted people to reflect and feedback to. All the exercise are reassuring in their simplicity.
The last section of the book is for `advanced students' and provides more detailed reflection on different kinds of worry, the challenges it gives to the sufferer, and ways to provide alternatives.
I read this from cover to cover to get an overview, I have not done the exercises, but the experience of reading this book has been worthwhile in causing me to reflect on my own worrying and negative thinking habits and suggest more positive ways to address problems. The writing is clear and accessible whilst intelligent and serious, and is a welcome resource for those whose lives have been unbalanced by worry.