Emotional Detox: 7 Steps to Release Toxicity and Energize Joy Hardcover – May 15, 2018
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Some unfortunate structural decisions weaken the usefulness of the book, one of them being the decision to include an autobiographical aspect. While this approach is entirely appropriate for blogging, for a book that promotes itself as an instructional manual on detoxing emotions it is a distraction. Yes, continuing to remind the reader about the affair the author experienced may provide a touch point for some. But because it detracts from the main purpose of the book - to teach the reader how to do an emotional detox - it takes space away from educational content that could have been more useful.
Another editorial decision, the forced folksy approach, is just off-putting. Well trained staff in services industries are taught not to call people "honey" or "sweety" because, well, it often triggers negative emotional reactivity. Rather counter to the theme of the book.
Next, the author makes some fairly controversial statements concerning quantum physics, the soul, theology, and energy medicine. It would have been helpful if she provided citations that backed up these statements.
Finally, it is unfortunate that the author chose to discuss toxicity issues in the first part of the book, rather than use that space to define her terms or at least briefly introduce the CLEANSE steps. This creates a situation where the author uses terms like "overprocessing emotions" before she adequately defines them, or references the CLEANSE steps before she has explained them. In fact, the author does a poor job of defining several terms in the book, to include "soul bliss". Without an adequate orientation, the reader is left with no frame of reference for what the author is talking about.
As to functional issues, given that the author is an adjunct psychology professor, I would have expected that she would have been more concerned with the reader's welfare. There are emotional issues that cannot be "detoxed" including suicidality, active mental illness, active abuse, and active addition. Even a short paragraph addressing this important issue and directing the reader to professional help would have gone some distance making the book more beneficial.
Another major functional issue is that the author is continually undermining her credibility. Here are some examples:
1. "I would blame my bloated stomach on having babies and ignore the fact that I was rarely going to the bathroom. What no one told me, as Adam Hadhazy wrote in Scientific American, was that “95 percent of the body’s serotonin [known to elevate mood and alleviate depression] is found in the bowels.” I was blocking my body’s ability to produce serotonin!" (Constipation does not block serotonin synthesis - fortunately)
2. "Taking probiotics ... is a way to consume healthy bacteria that will help you remove toxins. Mixing one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with a glass of water is one of the more affordable ways to do this." (Microbiome research is in its infancy. The role of probiotics in detoxification has not be clearly defined. Despite this, what does taking vinegar have to do with probiotics - or detoxification?)
3. "Think of your subconscious mind as your energy body. This subtle energy body has been recognized by yogis and healers for thousands of years through mind-body practices, such as certain types of meditation, yoga, or tai chi." (Mixing metaphors from Freudian/Jungian psychotherapy with Asian/Indian energetic practices is rarely wise. The subtle energy referenced here is most often called qi, prana, etc. The contention that this is the same as the subconscious mind would take considerable argument and scholarly documentation.)
4. "Here is the thing: if you want to change the template of emotional reactivity, you must change the energy... This approach is based on quantum physics." (This uncited, unsophisticated, New Age approach to quantum physics is a red flag that the writer has no idea what quantum physics actually is.)
5. "One of the most frequent ways resistance shows up is through bodily inflammation." (Inflammation is an immune system response to several types of challenges. What physiological mechanism is "resistance" triggering to provoke this response? Conversely, when I bang my knee and it swells up, is that a form of "resistance"? Should I take Ibuprofen to reduce my "resistance"?)
Other functional issues include definitive statements about the soul (based on what exactly?), use of sloppy terminology (to give one example, what the author calls a "pattern" is better defined as a "complex" from Jungian psychotherapy - why reinvent the wheel and confuse the reader?), and straining to make the "detox" analogy work (absorbing emotions like nutrients, praising "raw" emotions as superior without defining what "raw" is or why they are better, etc.)
In summary, this book is best thought of as an autobiographical account of how the author survived a harrowing affair and became a better person. Read in this way, the book can be quite helpful, even inspiring. But as a manual for actually doing an emotional detox, the book is a disappointment. The author has some legitimate insights into her topic of focus. Sadly, these insights are overwhelmed by a hodgepodge of often unsubstantiated bits of pop psychology, Facebook quality medical information, and faddish metaphysics, mixed in with personal experiences, that rarely rises above the level of a health coach blog. The author could have greatly benefited from the services of a very experienced and talented content editor.
I strongly suggest working with Sheri in person (she teaches workshops at Kripalu Yoga Center and other places) or through her online course... that helps bring to life the strategies she offers.
At best this book is an OK introduction to things people might want to study more. Such as meditation, auras, chakras, reiki, and yoga. There are a few decent pages about manifesting joy, and breathing techniques. but overall I just cannot recommend this book to anyone, and it certainly was not worth the price tag.