Mar 12

Book Review: The Pocket Therapist

The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival KitThe Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit by Therese Borchard

This book is a quick read, with short one or two page chapters that each have simple headings. I wasn’t expecting much. I usually don’t care for the sort of touchy-feely, feel-good, get-in-tune-with-yourself stuff, but I was hoping this would provide some sort of blueprint for introspection. I got a handful of interesting tidbits out of it, so it met my low bar.

Ironically, the author misuses some of her own advice in writing this book. She says that you shouldn’t ask advice from people who are ill-equipped to give it, ie. don’t ask marital advice from someone who’s been divorced 5 times. And yet, she’s been in therapy for twelve years and is a self-described neurotic who is advising others on how to get their life in order. Some of the advice makes no sense (Give Amy a bottle? WTF?) and some of it I strongly disagree with (going to church is not for everyone.) But some of it is stuff that I already knew but needed a reminder of. I really disliked when she talked about the science behind her advice. I felt it was overly simplistic, and I felt talked-down-to, but not everyone reads as much about psychology as I do, so others may find it fine.

The author says she’s bi-polar. Since I just read “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” which provides a lot of evidence that most modern cases of bi-polar disorder are, in fact, caused by anti-depressants, I couldn’t help but wince when she wrote proudly that she is diligent about taking her many, many, mood-altering drugs(anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, and anti-psychotics). I also raised my eyebrow at the hypocrisy of advising people to give up caffeine and sugar because caffeine is a “powerful drug that affects a number of neurochemicals in your brain” when despite all her research into her own ailments, she has apparently not found, or found and disregarded, the horrible things her own medications are doing to her body. It’s like the people who will discuss their wacky, mind-bending experiences with psychotropic drugs, and with the same breath, tell you that un-organic milk is poison and you shouldn’t let it pass your lips. Maybe these people should be reading the same books I’m reading.

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