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Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior Paperback – 25 May 2000
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"A remarkable achievement! This book will make a world of difference in the lives of people with OCD."--Eric Hollander, M.D., Compulsive, Impulsive & Anxiety Disorders Program, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
From the Back Cover
An estimated 5 million Americans suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and live diminished lives in which they are compelled to obsess about something or to repeat a similar task over and over. Traditionally, OCD has been treated with Prozac or similar drugs. The problem with medication, aside from its cost, is that 30 percent of people treated don't respond to it, and when the pills stop, the symptoms invariably return.
In Brain Lock, Jeffrey M. Schwartz presents a simple four-step method for overcoming OCD that is so effective, it's now used in academic treatment centers throughout the world. Proven by brain-imaging tests to actually alter the brain's chemistry, this method doesn't rely on psychopharmaceuticals. Instead, patients use cognitive self-therapy and behavior modification to develop new patterns of response to their obsessions. In essence, they use the mind to fix the brain. Using the real-life stories of actual patients, Brain Lock explains this revolutionary method and provides readers with the inspiration and tools to free themselves from their psychic prisons and regain control of their lives.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
I read the introduction, beginnings and ends of all sections. I finished reading it, went to sleep. Prior to that, I made a decision, it was that simple. If you want to change your life, do it immediately.
The 4 steps described in this book may seem like some kind of doctrine you feel is being imposed on you. It may seem patronising. However, these 4 steps have been derrived from intensive studies. They are the simplified formula given to you in its most optimised form, like an optimised computer algorithm.
Temperature of the underside of your frontal lobes is higher than those without these mental disorders. It is a neurological disorder which affected you psychologically. Change the cause of the problem - cognitively (thoughtfully) treat your mind, you are in control of re-engineering the filters in your thought processes. You attack the problem cognitively, you follow the correct thought process, and voila, from within, it manifests in a perfectly healthy brain.
The reason you've failed so far (and I assume you have since you are seeking help) is because you relied solely on yourself to cure this problem. For me, it was so satisfying to read that other people experience this monsterous disease, it only confirmed what I (and you) already knew. That it has to stop.
If you have a system, a plan, a good and tested plan, you will succeed, overnight!
You may feel like a robot because of the requirement for a system. However, it works transparently for me. The brain fixed itself, but it first had to recognise these 4 steps (and I think the first step in this book is the most important step of all). It then slips into your subconscious, you will feel fantastic.
You've suffered enough. Your extra sensory perception is probably heightened compared with "normal" people. Use it now, enjoy it.
Today, I am free.
Understand that by recognising that it's a disease, the second the obsessive thought creeps in, do not let it lead you to do your ritual (obsession). First step is "relabelling" - that is, identifying the disease from the real thing. It is easy once you realise the best person to reason with is yourself, and it's seamless. Quickly identify if the thought is as a result of your disease, don't give it the time of day. Refocus!!! The books says try another task for 15 minutes. I have progressed by carrying on doing what I was doing. At first, after you've beaten one or two OCD thoughts, you will look back at it 5 minutes later and you will have an epiphany (or perhaps you knew all along) that it was a disease.
RELABEL, REATTRIBUTE, REFOCUS and REVALUE (or rather, DEVALUE that useless garbage you've been suffering from).
I am 100% convinced you can do it. I did it. Get the book if you want if you're not convinced by me.
IDENTIFY IT and REFOCUS!
Good Luck (just follow the bloody steps!)
1. He uses a too narrow definition of obsessions. As well as thoughts and images they can also include urges
2. Relatred to the above he defines obsessions as behaviours which intend to reduce anxiety. Fine. The problem is that he then uses 'compulsion' to refer to compulsive urges at various points. Compulsive urges are not compulsions unless they are acted on. An urge is an obsession, even if the action it 'demands' is a compulsion.
Also, in his list of common obsessions are a few behaviours. They are compulsions, by definition
Furthermore, there could have been more examples in his list of obsessions that are from cognitive-only OCD (often misleadingly referred to as Pure O)
3. I think that a bit about trying to spot cognitive distortions at step 2 would have been useful and I say this as someone who really doesn't like CBT
4. Schwartz states in the introduction that all OCD compulsions are to prevent some sort of catastrophe in the sufferer's mind. But even his own case studies show that this simply is not the case. Some compulsions are just dictated by a OCD to the sufferer for no consequential reason, but just to negate some sort of discomfort which is there if the compulsive urge is not acted on.
5. He says that there is no realistic connection between compulsions and the imagined catastrophes that the sufferer performs them to avoid. He uses the example of someone fearing a death in the family showering to prevent it. Well, if the obsession is about contamination and the compulsion is to shower to prevent the catastrophe of catching a transmissible disease, there is a connection there. A disproportionate action to avoid the catastrophe, true, but it is there
6. Mindfulness needs to be better defined as being as it is stated to be the basis of the approach. In addition, more on what to do with the feelings of anxiety, discomfort, compulsive urges, etc, at step 3 is needed else we are in danger of trying to stifle them by refocusing. This is problematic as such behaviour is a compulsion. In addition, the mindfulness people will tell you that what you resist persists when it comes to emotion
7. The book is repetitive but I guess he needs to pad this method out. But he could have achieved it via the above
8 I am not sure how helpful the wise advocate is. He defines the impartial spectator as the same as mindfulness, which is fine. But as he states himself, mindfulness involves making discernments and choosing the wisest action. So it doesn't really add anything more to the concepts of impartial spectator and mindfulness, really, maybe bar confusion
9. Like others I am not enamoured by the religious evangelising
It is a pity because this method has proven to be very useful. I still think the book is a very useful tool to us sufferers, but take what works for you from it and apply/extend the methods to your own OCD rather than treating the book as the definitive tone on all things OCD
Bless Dr Schwartz for this wonderful work!!!.
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