10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Immediately accessible mindful techniques with wide scoping application,
This review is from: Life Happens: Waking Up to Yourself and Your Life in a Mindful Way (Book & CD) (Paperback)
I started reading Life Happens with a series of questions in my head. How would this be useful in clinical practice? How could I incorporate intentional awareness into my work with people who self-harm or who attempt suicide? How could developing a more mindful way influence my teaching? I hadn't expected that Life Happens would provide such an essential guide for self-awareness and professional development for all mental health practitioners. Although it is presented as a self-help tool kit of exercises, work choices, reflections and guided mindfulness meditation practices, it is not something that should only be used by patients or service users. Every mental health professional could benefit from this approach to enable increased awareness of self and how we use ourselves therapeutically.
The book is presented in an immediately accessible way. The accompanying CDs give a real voice to the author, but the text also feels like a conversation that engages the reader in a nurturing dialogue. The eleven sections are well structured and have a logical flow that could form the arc of a brief intervention to help develop someone's impulse awareness and control, to develop choices, to be aware of the decisions they make and to build their repertoire of responses. The concept of shifting rather than changing makes this approach ideal for working with people who want to notice and manage their personalities which may have caused problems in the past. The text is interspersed with cartoons, poems, aphorisms and other quotes which enable the reader to engage with the concepts in a variety of ways.
The collaborative nature of Life Happens would make it ideal as a tool to use with a client. The NICE guidelines for depression for example, recommend individual guided self-help based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and chronic physical pain, and mindfulness-oriented cognitive behavioural therapy to help prevent relapse for people with moderate to severe depression. Life Happens offers a self-help guide for those people who want to develop life skills and permanent ways of managing their emotional distress and depression rather that the quick fix that more homework-oriented CBT offered in other self-help books.
I train pre-registration mental health nurses and would like to use Life Happens in my teaching. Students have to develop a level of self-awareness when dealing with difficult situations; working with people in distress, people who are angry or threatening, and people who are experiencing psychotic symptoms. The key to communicating in these situations is self-awareness. Students need to develop a mindful approach, becoming aware of their intentions in these sometimes anxiety inducing situations. Life Happens will help them to literally incorporate this awareness, in their breath, their bodies and their minds.
In terms of the evidence-base for mindful interventions, this is not critiqued within the book, which aims to be straightforward and accessible. However, there is a very useful bibliography and list of useful websites.