Top critical review
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more questions than answers, did not work for me
on March 16, 2005
Dialectical behavior therapy (a form of Cognitive Therapy), this book is based upon, is derived, in part, from a process in which seemingly contradictory facts or ideas are weighed against each other to come up with a resolution or balance. For instance, you might learn about accepting who you are, faults and all, while at the same time making changes in your thoughts and behaviors. Sounds great, doesn't it?
The first 10 pages were extremely interesting and hopeful. But then, suddenly, the book becomes cryptic and hard to follow.
I consider myself to be someone of at least average intelligence with a BA in psychology. I've read and used many of self-help books with a degree of success.
As much as I wanted to like this book, I failed to understand its foreign philosophical concepts. Even simple ideas, felt more complex than needed to be, given some esoteric definitions.
I am not sure who is at fault: the author for not explaining it, myself for failing to understand, or DBT being so complex, but after about 2/3 of this book, I finally mindfully accepted that I needed to give up.
I my opinion,there are two problems with this book.
1. The author is just unable to explain new concepts to a newbie, especially when they are so "new-age". Marra is more suited to be a researcher, rather than write a self-help book for a patient who is confused and reduced by his/her problems in the first place and has no prior background in psychology or philosophy. (It can be done, just read Mind over Mood by Greenberg and you'll see what a clear and well organized self-help book has to look like).
2. Quite possibly, DBT is not well suited to be self-taught from a book.
At some point, I will give this book another go, and if I feel any different, I will amend my review accordingly. By no means, I would give up on DBT since study after study confirms its superior effectiveness in treating Borderline Personality Disorder as well as common intense emotions.