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Book OK, But Does Not Live Up to Hype
on November 6, 2006
Dear Friends: I am about half-way through this book and am somewhat disappointed by it. I have a master's in counseling -- and no, I have never met Dr. Leahy -- but I was really hoping for more than this book has to give.
I am a big fan of cognitive therapy, and own several books on it. Also I worry a lot. So I was hoping to benefit from this book :)
The first four chapters are reasonably well-organized, and I learned a lot of new information about dealing with worrying from them. I really appreciated them, and thank Dr. Leahy for writing them.
But, after the first four chapters, I found this book frustrating because it has many useful insights on worry, but they are poorly organized, sort of flung at the reader. There are many vague case histories of "Ted," "Darlene," etc. of whom the reader quickly loses track.
In fact I began to feel resentful of "Ted" etc. -- it was like I was sitting in a group therapy session where I knew no one, and my problems were being completely ignored.
Also, the style of the book is very breezy and dismissive of its worried readers -- kind of, "hey, foolish reader, we'll rid you of those silly worries" -- many of us have real, major life problems, and this book seems to be focused on what is called the "worried well" -- people who have high incomes, good jobs, and some neurotic worries. Their biggest problems seem to be overwork, or trouble finding a date.
For someone who has major life worries, or serious anxiety, or major health and/or emotional problems, or is struggling with their finances, the book feels patronizing. Every case history is resolved with Dr. Leahy showing the person they have nothing to worry about -- they have a good income or they are attractive and can find dates, etc.
And in parts where it is announced, again in a breezy style, that most worries never come true -- well, I guess Dr. Leahy has led a very sheltered life.
Also, there are things missing -- the reader takes a test "scoring key, personality belief questionnaire" -- which then shows your alleged levels of Obsessive-Compulsive, Narcissistic, etc. personality traits. But the explanation on the next page leaves out the last three categories on which you are scored. So you have no idea what scores in those areas mean.
Stuff like this happens in several areas of the book -- a concept is announced and then there is not thorough follow-through. Dr. Leahy needed a more attentive editor or proofreader.
I am up to page 137, and I hope to finish the book because there are nuggets of wisdom in it.
But on the other hand, I have been looking through the rest of the book and noticed that the "health anxieties" section -- chapter 13 -- views everyone with health worries as being fundamentally healthy people who are neurotic about their health -- well, that cuts out all the people with chronic illnesses! Guess their worries aren't very important!
This book should have been entitled: "The Worry Cure for People Who Are In Excellent Health With Good Jobs and Some Minor Neuroses Around Relationship, Romance and Work Problems." It is not a book for people with major life problems, illnesses, financial problems, relationship difficulties, etc.
Which is a shame, because many of them worry too much and could really, really use the help in discerning better ways to handle their worries, and Dr. Leahy does know the latest worry research very thoroughly. Why he has chosen to apply it only to the "worried well" is beyond me.
I am thinking of going back to Dr. David Burns' "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy."
And no, I have never met Dr. Burns, either!