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on 10 December 2017
Great book!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 February 2016
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A good overview of CBT and it's uses. Briers manages to put over a very complex area of 'talking therapy' in relatively simple terms. This isn't a book aimed at the practitioner, although I'm sure practitioners like myself will read it and find some areas of use in practice, this is aimed at individuals who want to find out more about CBT, it's applications and how it can help overcome a number of problems by focusing on helping an individual find their own solutions through a problem solving approach. However, a caveat. Whilst self help books like this are useful in helping some individuals deal with simple issues anything more complex does need the help and guidance of someone who is trained in CBT approaches, this is a specialist area of talking therapy, and people can get out of their depth very quickly. That said I really liked Briers approach and can't really fault the book.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 23 February 2016
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This is a clear and well explained discussion of CBT aimed at the lay person.

The book will give you a good idea whether CBT may help with your problems or those of people near you. It will not enable you to solve them by self-help. If CBT is right for you, you will need to see a professional.

The book is well presented and easy to read and this seems to have been the overriding objective. For example this is its description of psychoanalysis: "Psychoanalysis aims to develop self-awareness and bring unconscious conflicts to the surface. Often associated with the influence of childhood experience and Freud's theories of sexuality". This isn't far out but it hardly does justice to modern psychoanalysis nor does it distinguish between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. This is not so much a criticism as a limitation of the book.
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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2016
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This is a well wriiten book, with a good type face so easy on eye to read. Also for such a complex suject as "CBT" this is an engaging read. There are self help excercises. CBT appears to be a useful way and approach to solving and facing the many problems life tends to throw up at us, So far I have enjoyed this book. Particularly the idea of keeping a thought diary to map out things. An excellent reminder. As used to keep a diary and will start to do so again. At 280 pages this is a good but not too long read.
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VINE VOICEon 14 February 2016
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This book is very much written as a self-help guide, and assumes that you are looking for some sort of therapy to sort some sort of problems. It is refreshingly modest in its claims: “CBT is by no means the only type of therapy out there, and it may not even be the best one for you.” I wasn’t so much looking for a therapy, but rather to understand more about CBT is about, as I see it mentioned so often.

I have enjoyed reading the book, I have learned a lot – although it’s certainly a book that will bear being re-read a couple of times more – and I have immersed myself in the exercises proposed. I have, as recommended, begun a “thought diary”, having downloaded an app of that name to my smartphone as recommended.

While I wasn’t looking for a therapy, I am not claiming that I shouldn’t use one. The 280 or so pages of this book are easy to read, and make perfect sense. CBT seems a rationally based and sensible sort of approach to solving problems in your life, and I like that too. Others will be better placed to make assessments as to how this book compares to other practical introductions to CBT, but based on my limited knowledge of the subject, I can see no flaws in this one, and hence 5 stars.

I shall try to maintain my thought diary and come back to chapters of this book. Most of us can benefit from finding ways to take a more positive view of ourselves in the world.
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on 18 February 2016
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been around for a long time and I have always considered it a form of “dog-training” for people. As with training dogs you work on small individual things rather than the whole in one go (with people you attempt to alter smaller actions, usually one at a time, and hopefully these small alterations will change the larger problem/issue).

One of the most well-known CBT advocates was Ivan Pavlov (he of the “bell, food and dogs” fame).

Simply put: you look at the actions of a person who may need help and see if there is another action that can be put in place to avoid the unwanted action.

For example, you may have come in contact with people who have elastic bands round their wrists and snap them against their skin. They are probably using the band and the snap on the skin to distract from their usual urge to do something.

So, if a person has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) you can try to introduce the band-snap as an alternative to the urge to act on their OCD.

CBT has always admitted that there are behavioural aspects that cannot be “trained” out of a person because they are naturally innate, and it is important to understand that before you start on any course of psychological therapy.

Another important point to consider is what you are going to replace your “bad habit” with. You need to be careful that you don’t replace the “habit” with a more harmful one.

CBT can also help some people with depression - though as someone who is living with severe depression I have to admit that it hasn’t worked for me, but there are a number of reasons for this.

You require a referral from your GP – my GP thought I was under “just a bit of stress” – he has seen me almost every fortnight (due to my chronic and “life limiting” illnesses and didn’t notice that my state of mind was deteriorating!). I had to tell him that I have severe depression (as a psychologist I know the signs and symptoms as do my colleagues, but self-diagnosis is never the way to do).

It has taken him 2 years to agree to refer me to the pain clinic (he requires a consultant’s agreement to upgrade my pain medication, or so he says), just imagine how long it would take him to agree to a referral for CBT.

He also suggests that he would like to “try giving some therapy” – he’s not trained to do so (by the practice managers admission) but apparently the practice can claim ”bonus money” for mental health treatment from the government (or at least that’s what the practice manager has told me) … and he wonders why I think so lowly of him! Unfortunately for me my illnesses mean that other practices are unwilling to take me on so I am stuck with this fool.

In a recent visit he told me that “done a search on the deeds” and had looked into the ownership and value of the property. Why? What’s it to do with him? And with that when the little trust I had left in him disappeared completely.

Of course other people will probably have much better GPs that him but you know your own best.

However, if other GPs are so reticent, unobservant, uncaring and devious I can understand people wanting to take steps to help themselves.

This book is simply written and easy to understand and it is set out like a self-help book. I would, however, seek out professional help where possible before undertaking any “retraining” on your own.

I would happily recommend this book to my student who are studying CBT as part of their psychology course.
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2016
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I am not (nor would I want to be) a professional psychologist but having been a counsellor some years back, I touched on CBT during my learning phase.
I have read various books concerning CBT over the years, mostly ones aimed at self-tuition and understanding. Some have been good and some needed laying down and avoiding.
This book by Stephen Briers is definitely on the high side of good. In fact in my personal opinion, it's the best I've read.
One of the main reasons for this I feel is the excellent writing style of Mr Briers.
I also found the way the book tackles CBT, the routine for understanding shall we say, is the one I felt most at home with.
The book starts with an insight into CBT and the first principles for understanding and using it in your own life.
It then moves into helping you uderstand the varios traps that you may get into and dealing with the negative thought whirlpools we can get sucked into.
Then there's experience. This is what lays down many of our beliefs about ourselves and the world and people arund us. These beliefs may be wrong of course but, if experience tells you a certain group of people are out to injure you then you're likely to paint everyone with the same brush.
The book then goes on to help you use your own experiences, being aware of how this may be difficult, but how this can improve your personal view of yourself. Having moved on from this the book aims to guide you through setting out you problems and learning to view them in a new manner that is going to help you step back from the negative thoughts you have been indoctrinating yourself with.
Then what about depression? The blues? How should you deal with it? Anti depressants? This book gives you some much needed insight and methods on dealing with probably one of the modern worlds biggest illnesses. The section is very well written and, like all of this book there are excellent techniques for guiding you through being depressed.
Probably another thing we all suffer from at one time or another is anxiety. Giving a presentation, meeting new people, undertaking new ventures, even simply leaving your house, all can lead to a state of anxiety which, in some people can become ingrained and apparently unbeatable.as the conditioning builds on itself.
Following the same style of the other sections of the book, the reader is lead through the ways to recognise the triggers, find why the triggers do what they do and, ultimately how to deal with them.
Then there's anger. All of us suffer anger to some degree or another but some people simply cannot control this most basic of primal instincts. CBT is known to help sufferers deal with anger and how to handle it in their lives. This book helps open your eyes and retrain your thought and reaction processes to deal with what is a very destructive facet of human personality.
Then we all have low self esteem some times. CBT and the techniques detailed in the chapter dedicated to boosting your self esteem will give you guidance in getting your self view back into focus and on the right track.
The final chapter details methods of using CBT techniques to deal with and help eliminate addictions and self destructive habits. Again, as with all this book the writing method makes it easy to read and digest and, hopefully learn from.
The book finishes with a large collection of useful appendices, references and useful websites as well as examples of the many suggested forms and thought record templates utilised in almost every chapter and technique in this book.
I found this a difficult book to review in my usual manner because CBT, by it's method will work in different ways for different people although, hopefully at the end all users will benefit.

Definitely a book well worth reading.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 19 March 2016
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This is a very impressive and comprehensive CBT introduction. I like its approachable tone and language - it makes it easy and relatable to read. The content is first class and aimed at the self-help audience. Like an up-market 'for dummies', with a similar friendly, quote- and image-supported text. I love that it shares people's stories - that is always a very useful thing, making what you are trying to learn more human and real-life. If you have been recommended to try CBT, or if you are interested in self-management using this as a technique, this is a super resource. I particularly like it as an info source and support for managing depression and anxiety.
The two issues I have with the book are:
1. If you believe the book (and NICE), CBT is the holy grail of mental health management. The book lists a range of issues that CBT is alleged to help - including PTSD, bipolar disorder, alcoholism - and more. And, in my view, that is both wrong and irresponsible. It does have its uses, most definitely, and it is very effective in the right context, and as a support alongside other therapies - but the reason the NHS loves it and prescribes it ad nauseam is because it is cheap and easy to provide. Saying it works for PTSD is like saying a plaster works for a severed artery...
2. They give NLP a patronising slagging off. Apparently NICE is the arbiter of all things effective. NLP has its place alongside the other therapies (and is more effective than some) - and it does some amazing work. Read Richard Bandler and/or John Grinder and get the real low-down, if you are interested in discovering more about it. They developed it.
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2016
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My doctor has recently referred me to an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) course to help with my depression and anxiety. Knowing that, and before I start the course, I saw this book and hoped that it would help me understand CBT a little better.

I have toyed with the idea of CBT before but it has always felt a little overwhelming. The basic premise is that your thoughts on a particular situation give rise to your feelings. So, if you have a bad or negative reaction to something, your feelings are also negative. CBT says that by changing your thoughts, you can change how you handle a situation and reverse that bad or negative reaction.

So, CBT is basically attempting to train your brain.

The author of the book, Dr Stephen Briers, is a psychologist who has a really in depth knowledge of CBT and how it can help people overcome some of their issues. With that, the writing is effective and understandable and the style is very accessible. I especially liked the fact that he acknowledged that this type of treatment may not work for everyone - a really great caveat so that if you don’t get what you had hoped for by the end of the book, you won’t be monumentally discouraged.

This book is a really good all-rounder on CBT. It explains the principles of CBT, how it can help you and gives you examples of people who have been helped by it. Then there are the practical exercises on how you can use CBT. It’s not a fast read and while I’m sure you can dip in and out, it’s probably more beneficial - on the first time of reading at least - to read through it in order. It’s easy to understand but it’s always good to take one section at a time and work your way through it at a pace that means you’ll really take in and appreciate what’s being said.

I think with most self-help books, but this one especially, you only get out what you put in. Yes, you can read through a book, but without putting the exercises in practice, you won’t get as much out of it. This book gives you a great jumping off point to either find out more about CBT or start your CBT journey. I’m really impressed with it and hope that it will really complement the online course my doctor has prescribed. 5 stars.
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2016
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There are a lot of websites, books and apps that claim to be the right resource to get you started with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and this makes it tricky to find the right one for you. What I really liked about ‘Brilliant CBT’ was it spends the first few chapters discussing what CBT is, how it came about and how it compares alongside other therapies such as Mindfulness and NLP.

Physically the book is quite small, but with 250 pages in quite a small typeface there’s a lot of information crammed into quite a compact space. What this book doesn’t give you is a ‘quick fix’ which is not what CBT is about. Whilst there are tasks to complete throughout the book, my preference was to read through the whole thing so I can then come back and do any exercises I feel are relevant to me.

Whilst I found the book very readable, not all chapters may be relevant to every reader. For example, there are chapters on specific areas such as addiction, anger and self-esteem which are certainly worth reading, but may not always be applicable. Throughout the book there are plenty of real world examples and case-notes which break up the text at suitable points and allow you to put things into context.

Overall I found 'Brilliant CBT' to be well-written and engaging enough to keep me going through to the end. It does contain an awful lot of information and provides you with the tasks to begin your own journey in CBT, but stresses that CBT might not be the correct therapy for you. There is also the option of engaging with a professional practitioner to help you on your journey which you may wish to speak with your GP about. If you are considering giving CBT a try, then I think this book will provide you with an excellent overview of what it involves.
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