November 3, 2008
Sky Is Falling: Understanding and Coping with Phobias, Panic and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, is available to buy through The Potential Shop.
It is estimated that between 14-20 million Americans suffer from some sort of anxiety or panic disorder (and including myself, more than a few foreigners too). Many lives are consumed with phobias and irrational fears, and many lives are blighted as a result. In this book Dr Raeann Dumont suggests that these fears develop as a result of magical thinking, a process by which conclusions develop without the presence of a rational thought process. This book presents examples through case studies, such as a woman experiencing panic attacks in public places, a man whose intense phobias ended his marriage and resulted in his alcoholism, and a young boy who refuses food due to a phobia of being poisoned. The doctor offers cognitive therapy and self-help techniques as practical guidance for recognizing irrational thought processes, and working towards overcoming them.
This book is an invaluable resource to sufferers, their families and therapists alike. Those with a more general interest in CBT might also find it useful.
Click here to buy the book
Or click here to explore The Potential Shop
October 30, 2008
The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook, written by Deborah Bray Haddock, is available to buy at Mental Health Books.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a fragmentation of self, in which the individual develops a number of distinct identities and personalities, each with it’s own pattern of behavior and interaction with the environment. This book is written as a bridge between the client, the therapist, family and friends, and is an attempt to demystify the disorder. Haddock looks into the lives of people with DID, to illustrate the struggles that they face and the social myths about the disorder that need to be overcome. (Many still refer to it as Multiple Personality Disorder).
The book begins with an overview of the diagnostic criteria (which are stricter than I thought), before moving on to examine the importance of childhood experiences and memories. Drawing on the theories of childhood developmental experts such as Piaget and Bowlby, Haddock analyses ways in which key deficits at crucial ages could lead to the onset of the disorder. Specific “symptoms” include a chaotic lifestyle, anxiety and depression, mood swings and amnesia. The author also investigates similarities with schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder, especially instances of hearing voices or the client’s belief that their thoughts can be controlled by others.
The latter chapters focus more on treatment techniques, and offer insights to patients and their families as well as therapists and clinicians. The range of theories and therapeutic techniques discussed is very impressive, and gives patients and families a wealth of information to draw from. I cannot underestimate the importance of a client having a practical and working knowledge of where the therapist is coming from, and what his or her own theoretical background is.
Overall, this book is probably the best and most thorough resource available for a much-maligned and misunderstood disorder.
Click here to buy the book at Amazon
Or click here to explore the Personality Disorders section at Mental Health Books
October 30, 2008
The Divided Self, the seminal work by eminent Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing, is available to buy at Amazon.
Laing is considered by many to be a founding figure in the anti-psychiatry movement. In this book he postulates that the development of a unified sense of self is essential in cultivating and maintaining a relationship with the outside world. This “ontological security” provides us with the belief that the world is a stable place in which to live, and affirmative of our choice to live there. The “ontologically insecure” person, such as a schizophrenic or psychotic individual, has failed to develop this unity of self, from birth onwards through adolescence and into adult life. It is this insecurity, Laing believed, that distorts the individual’s relationship with the world, to the extent that there is no defence against him or her being “acted on”, or perceived in any way. What is needed, Laing argues, is greater understanding of the gestures and communications of those whom society wrongly ignores and demonises as “mad”.
This book is essential reading for anyone cast with a psychiatric label, or their carers to provide a deeper understanding of what is going on. It is also a great place to start for anyone interested in existentialism, and it’s impact on psychiatry, anti-psychiatry, and psychiatric diagnosis.
Click here to buy The Divided Self at Amazon
October 5, 2008
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