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Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame Paperback – 11 May 2007
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From the Inside Flap
Parents act as a mirror to show a child who she or he is. Throughout childhood there will be other mirrors, but children inevitably return to the reflection in that original mirror in order to determine their goodness, importance, and self-worth. In Healing Your Emotional Self, Engel offers her highly effective Mirror Therapy program to help you reject the distorted images your parents either intentionally or unintentionally projected onto you. She explores the seven types of emotionally abusive or neglectful parents and the seven most common parental mirrors, providing specific advice and recovery strategies for each one.
Helping you raise your self-esteem and improve your self-image, this innovative step-by-step program provides you with the skills you need to: Create a positive self-image separate from your abusive parents' distorted picture Separate emotionally from your parents and provide for yourself what you missed as a child Discover who you really are-- including your likes, dislikes, values, goals, and dreams-- by creating a word self-portrait and using other Mirror Therapy techniques Overcome your tendency toward self-blame, self-hatred, and self-destructiveness Learn self-nurturing and set effective limits to help you control your tendency to overeat, drink too much, overspend, and/or overwork Become the person you are meant to be by being more accepting of yourself
Learn to love who you see in the mirror with the breakthrough program found in Healing Your Emotional Self.
From the Back Cover
"Emotionally abusive parents are indeed toxic parents, and they cause significant damage to their children′s self–esteem, self–image, and body image. In this remarkable book, Beverly Engel shares her powerful Mirror Therapy program for helping adult survivors to overcome their shame and self–criticism, become more compassionate and accepting of themselves, and create a more positive self–image."
Susan Forward, Ph.D., author of Toxic Parents
"Engel′s insightful questionnaires and exercises provide concrete help in the healing process, and her writing style is lively and engaging. This book is destined to positively affect many lives."
Joyce Catlett, M.A., coauthor of Fear of Intimacy
In Healing Your Emotional Self, Beverly Engel, one of the world′s leading experts on emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, explains how to heal the damage to your self–image and self–esteem caused by negative parental messages and offers treatment to help you lead a happier and healthier life. This breakthrough guide is designed to help you reject the distorted images your parents either intentionally or unintentionally projected onto you. Step by step, this innovative method will give you the skills you need to quiet your inner critic, boost your self–esteem, create a positive self–image separate from your abusive parents′ distorted picture, discover who you really are, learn self–nurturing, and become the person you are meant to be.See all Product description
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I viewed the book as being mainly split into two parts. The first part of the book is focussed on exploring and describing the various negative parenting styles that people may have been subjected to, including the effects they can have on a person's self-esteem and development. This was the part I found most upsetting. When you can recognise and relate to the experiences described, it can be rather difficult to digest and come to terms with.
The second part of the book focuses on healing, and there are various techniques presented to help you come to terms with your past, and to create a new and healthier way of relating to and treating yourself.
I do have some criticisms to make with this book. One of them is in regards to the exercises in the first part of the book. There are various written exercises to complete to help you gain more understanding of what happened to you and how you have been affected. Some of these include listing all the ways you were neglected and writing about your shaming experiences. Naturally, this can feel rather traumatic. After each exercise, the book continues as normal. I think it would have been helpful to have some suggestions after each exercise on how you can ground yourself, and bring yourself back to the present moment again. For me, I felt like I had gone back into my past and was just left there. It was quite difficult to "come back" to the present, and the book offers no help with that.
I also didn't agree with the way the author suggests getting angry with your parents, and casting the blame back onto them. One suggestion was to say, "I am not worthless. You are the one who was worthless. You were a worthless mother." While I agree that anger is a part of healing, I don't think it is healthy to keep that kind of frame of mind. The author also suggests shouting back at your "inner critic", which made me feel uncomfortable. I don't believe you can "shout down" your negative thoughts. I think replacing the thoughts with more compassionate ones is more beneficial, and I felt uneasy with the aggressive way you are encouraged to adopt in order to counter the negative thoughts.
I also would have liked more detail on the various helpful techniques. The author just skims briefly on the techniques, without really going into any great detail about them.
However, I do think the second part of the book was very good overall. The author writes with great understanding and knowledge, and shares her own experiences too, so you feel she knows where you are coming from. After reading the book, I do feel I have learned new ways of coping and of talking to myself, such as developing a nurturing inner voice and an inner protector. I do feel my self-hatred has lessened, although I think it will naturally take more than reading a book to feel a vast change in oneself.
So overall, apart from a few things I disagreed with, I found this book quite comforting and helpful. But just do be careful when reading this book if you are currently in an emotional state.
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