Do Self-Help Books Work?
The short answer is YES! But the long answer has a few more nuances to it.
I cannot tell you how many “self-help” books have helped me in my life. It’s too many to count! That doesn’t mean though that I haven’t spent years of my life seeking professional help. There’s a perspective that someone else can give you that you often just can’t get yourself. And knowledge and life experience they have that you don’t. There are also certain pathways that I don’t want to travel alone. The way may be a bit thorny or the paths may twist and turn and I want someone along to support and guide me through to the mountain top where the view is beautiful.
But not everyone needs a guide or can afford one. A solid self-help book, “Feeling Great,” is one I highly recommend. It was just published by David Burns, MD, who is a very well-known Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT). The book is very focused on looking at the negative way you’re viewing things and changing your thought patterns in order to feel better. It includes charts and exercises for you to do at home as you read along. And although it’s pretty long (even I was a little intimated when I got it in the mail), it moves pretty quickly and about a third of it is Appendices.
I took an all day virtual workshop with Dr. Burns last weekend to learn more in-depth information about how to use his method with clients. I identify as a CBT therapist myself and typically use CBT in combination with hypnosis to help people. The hypnosis often speeds things up and also helps resolve anxiety, depression, and trauma in a way that I haven’t found using CBT alone does. The workshop was entertaining as Dr. Burns is an excellent storyteller, and I learned even more methods to help people!
If you’re more audio oriented, he also has an excellent podcast called “Feeling Good,” (which is the name of one of his best selling books published in the 1980s.)
I hope you’re doing ok these days and are reaching out for help when you need it – through a podcast, a book, or with a friend, family, helper, or healer.
Next blog post, I’ll talk about an easy technique to use at home to help you change your thoughts so that you feel better!
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Yours in health,