Customer Review

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very long book indeed of two halves, 4 May 2012
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This review is from: The Compassionate Mind (Compassion Focused Therapy) (Paperback)
Firstly, I'm very sorry this has vanished from the Kindle - I have just finished reading mine ON the Kindle, so at some point last month it was available on download.

In many ways, the book has two audiences, which Gilbert has condensed into one : those who are particularly interested in neurobiology, and an examination of society, spirituality and altruism from an evolutionary angle, and those who might be looking at a practical approach involving an enhanced fusion of CBT and compassionate mindful meditation in order to deal with anxiety, depression and anger. And I can quite clearly see that the magnificent laying out of the first half of the book, where Gilbert explains the evolution of the classic fight, flight, and seeking/reward activities of the the sympathetic nervous system, and the ameliorating/consolidating activities of the parasympathetic nervous system is going to be extremely helpful to those who are reading the book in order to engage with the practical and self help exercises.

However, it made for a very long (and very repetitious) read for someone interested in the former, who already uses aspects of the latter. On one level I was tempted to stop reading at the end of Part 1, - except that I realised that there was more interesting Part 1 type material buried within Part 2.

And I completely understand the value of the Part 2 material being endlessly repetitive about bringing the image of your compassionate person/self to mind, sitting with the smile, journalling etc etc. Except that this wasn't the book I wanted to read.

I do think that Gilbert has a great, warm, personal and good humoured writing style, cites his references well, backs up everything meticulously, but personally, so wished he had edited the book in such a way that all the neurobiology, ethics, philosophy and analysis had been condensed into one place in Part 1, and Part 2 been purely based on the practical aspects and exercises.

I fear that those who have picked up this book in order to get to the exercises may never have got there, if they were uninterested in the theoretical and scientific analysis, and those, like me, who were interested in the former, needing no exercises because of prior practice in some other way, may have missed much interesting Part 1 type info which is still being given in Part 2 because of speed-reading to find Part 1 nuggets in Part 2, and trying to avoid the repetition.
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