Top critical review
15 people found this helpful
on 8 April 2013
I did find this an enjoyable book to read. However it did seem a strange mix. Clearly a lot of the ideas put forward are very helpful in understanding and explaining a lot of human behaviour, such as the notion of templates and how they are embedded in the emotional depository of the brain. Also, how the pattern matching can at times become somewhat faulty or destructive with an inapproriate pattern match. The APET is a useful model, although I do not think it is that removed from the CBT model, the basis premise being that emotion and thought are connected.I did get annoyed at the dismissal of the Selfish Gene- which is not all about walking over everybody else. Being altruistic, kind, cooperative etc can help a gene to survive!
Sadly though some aspects of the book seem bizarre- such as the theory of autism (people stuck with the brains of a haddock?!) And the whole theory of relatons which seems like something out of Dr Who. But it seems the authors are on some sort of socio-political quest- which in itself is not a bad thing but wrapping it up in pseudo science is uncomfortable and detracts from the message.
The difficulty with a lot of this is that it cannot be proven-or disproven. What goes on in our heads at night is likely to always remain a mystery. It may well be that sleep allows us to reprogramme and process the previous day's pattern matching but I have no idea how you could prove that. You might as well say that that sleep and REM are times when God is communicating with us(with help from the Spiritons)- and if we don't do that, we die... Try disproving that.
As with any new psychological theory, there are always examples given of how when applied, cures are obtained. Obviously, these are never tested in a double blind situation. We get a clinical trial of 1. And as we know true double blind experiments are so difficult to set up in this field. I am not suggesting that the authors are snake oil salesmen (and they clearly believe in their product)but their enthusiasm will affect the outcome in their patients.
But there does seem to be something valuable in this. It may well be that in terms of pyschotherapy we do need to consider better ways of re-programming destructive behaviour/ emotional responses. But that gets a bit scary. The book does allude to where templates have been noxiously manipulated on a national scale. However, perhaps we should consider just individual emotional distress and how it can be relieved by the techniques described in the book.
From an obvious subjective viewpoint, the key things I have taken in in that we are sometimes disabled by emotional reactions firing up inappropriately (templates).
If that template is to be changed then the brain needs to be reprogrammed-i.e what once was a threat is no longer seen as a threat.
There may be different ways of doing this-e.g cognitive reframing / hypnosis.
Reprogramming is only likely to happen in a relaxed state. If emotions are running high then the logical, sensible part of the brain doesnt get much of a look in.
There needs to be some good quality research done. I would imagine that a lot of psychotherapists/psychololgists might be quaking in their financial boots if it really is the case that a good proportion of their patients can be sorted with a one hour relaxation/hypnosis session.
Something I do connect with in the book is the aspect of emotional needs. Always difficult to define individually but clearly there are consequences if our emotional needs are not met. We can to some degree define our physical needs (eg minimum daily requirements for vitamins!) but it is much more difficult to quantify emotional needs. How do we measure attachment, attention, self esteem, fun...? But if these are absent, emotions and behaviour are negatively affected.
One of the best things about the book though was that it made me think!