You Can Feel Good Again: Common-Sense Therapy For Releasing Depression And Changing Your Life Paperback – 29 Sep 1994
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"This upbeat, commonsense approach may be helpful to those seeking an alternative to traditional therapy."--Library Journal"Presents the answers we are all looking for in a profoundly simple and personal manner... A great shortcut to psychological health and recommended reading for all my clients."--Joseph Bailey, author of The Serenity Principle "A helping hand out of a low mood."--Stephen Levine, author of A Gradual Awakening and Who Dies?
Tells how to avoid dwelling on negative past events, bypass bad moods, develop a positive outlook, and reach a natural state of contentment.See all Product description
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So... where to start, with the good or the critical omitted information?
I'll start with the good: I think this is absolutely crucial information which could revolutionise the mental health professions if it were more widely adopted. Unfortunately the author died prematurely from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 45, which may partially explain why this approach has not been more widely adopted.
The key premise is that depression stems from your thinking - not from an organic illness or issues that need to be ferreted out through endless psychotherapy sessions. And if you can change your thinking (which you can, more easily than you may realise) then you can be happy.
I know this is true, as I suffered from lifelong, moderate-to-severe depression, and have been more or less completely cured since following the advice given in this book. So, despite what naysayers may say about this approach being too simplistic, I know from experience that it works.
HOWEVER - and this is a big however - he never actually tells you how to stop having the thoughts that make you unhappy. He just assumes (in fact, states categorically) that everyone can choose to stop having negative thoughts whenever they want. I actually dismissed this book as a fatuous bit of fluff the first time I read it, because I was not able to stop my thoughts as easily as he suggested and therefore thought he was severely misguided. If you can't stop or at least re-direct your thoughts, his method will not work for you.
It is relatively easy to learn how to slow down or stop your thoughts - it's a shame he didn't tell his readers how. So, to complement this book, I would recommend "Beyond Happiness" by Frank Kinslow (or any of Kinslow's books really - they're all good, and they all teach you the basic method for stopping or slowing down your thoughts.)
Once you master that method, then Carlson's book will make perfect sense to you - and you should see that, far from being an elusive state available to only a lucky few, happiness is actually freely available to everyone, no matter what their circumstances (a few extreme examples notwithstanding - I'd imagine it would be difficult to be happy if you were a prisoner held in solitary confinement being tortured regularly... although, having said that, the Dalai Lama and Terry Waits apparently managed it, so perhaps that is possible too. I hope never to have to test the theory).
Anyway, my overall feeling is: I wish every therapist would read and absorb this book. And, for every person suffering from depression - give this a try. It may not make sense at first (it certainly didn't for me at first) - but once you get it, your life will be transformed and you will be happier than you imagined possible.
The reason I am only giving it three is the way it is written. It just doesn't flow and is quite a lot of work to get through it. The wording just made it hard for me to get through it.
By concentating on your problems,you are actually making them worse,and when you let go,you are much better able to solve them.Never try to solve your problems in a low mood,even though this may feel right at the time.Put them on the "back burner"and you will find the solution will come to you,once you stop all the worrying and obsessing.
Sounds easy? Well it's not,but once you try it,you'll be amazed at the results.This is the best book I know for practical advice that starts working right away.It's certainly helped me a lot.
I respect the person that was Richard Carlson ( sadly he dided in 2006, unexpectedly) and the wisdom he tried to put over to people in dealing better with things in life.
In fairness, alot of the wisdom he talks about is reasonable and can help a little but it is limited. The reason is that he tends to repeat over and over about letting thoughts go about any issue and not to think things through. He talks about a safe haven in the mind which he calls " psychological healthy functioning" and says that this always exists whatever the circumstances in life. Whilst i see some value in this, i didnt feel i could reach what he was saying. He says that to not entertain negative thoughts is not to dismiss things because everyone has an inbuilt wisdom that will deal with these thoughts/perceived problems. However, i dont entirely agree with that and despite the fact that Richard insisted this is not the case, i feel there are some things in life that cannot so easily be dealt with.
I can only say i respected Richard's perceived sincerity to help people and feel he genuninely believes a person can be happy no matter what but i dont feel ive come away having taken great wisdom from his words and dont feel much further forward in my mind.