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Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life Paperback – December 28, 2010
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“Our faltering economy has cost many people more than their money: They've lost their peace of mind. Peppered with practical action steps to build healthy emotional habits this book tells how to manage difficult emotions and restore inner calm.”
"A road map for people who are stressed out, discouraged or overwhelmed, or for those who simply want to get to a better place. Orloff, a psychiatrist, offers a step-by-step way to change outlooks, alter behavior and cope with life's challenges."
“Dr. Orloff has a gift for making psychology lively, relevant, and useful to laypeople, and EMOTIONAL FREEDOM provides an ample menu of highly original action steps to help you work through each emotional state to achieve well−being.”
“[A]superbly written series of psychological strategies for maximizing positive emotions and minimizing toxic ones….This insightful and positive book will assist anyone who is suffering in mapping a path out of pain.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This well-written book is full of good advice for anyone who wants to take more control of his or her emotional life."
“A must-read for anyone who’s tired of feeling frustrated, lonely, jealous, or emotionally tense. Dr. Orloff shows you how to achieve a lightness of being and feel more positive and peaceful. Highly recommended.”
–Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul
“Spectacular! I endorse this book so heartily because it gives a unique blend of the author’s personal and professional experience to enlighten us, and it’s a totally fascinating read. I recommend it to everyone who wants to overcome sabotaging emotional patterns to achieve self-mastery.”
–Candace Pert, Ph.D., author of Molecules of Emotion
“A heartfelt, accessible guide to the graceland of peace and calm–regardless of our parents, our past, or our present. It’s loaded with nuggets of practical and profound healing wisdom.”
–Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
“Absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t put this book down!”
–Caroline Myss, Ph.D., author of Entering the Castle: An Inner Path to God and Your Soul
“EMOTIONAL FREEDOM combines neuroscience, psychology, and spirituality to present a new approach for freeing yourself from negative emotions. This book offers you a path to greater health, intimacy, and compassion.”
–Dean Ornish, M.D., author of The Spectrum and Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease
“This book empowers us in exciting and remarkable ways. Dr. Orloff’s wise insights about emotions serve us with wonderful clarity.”
–Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God
"An invaluable book written by one of the finest psychiatrists of our time."
–Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
"This book is a lifesaver for people who are frustrated, stressed, and anxious. If you long for more joy, give yourself a gift and read this book!"
–Marci Shimoff, bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul and Happy for No Reason
"A valuable guidebook for anyone who believes that greater possibilities await them, but has not yet realized them."
–Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things
"EMOTIONAL FREEDOM is packed with that rarest of combinations; it is both intensely informed by the wealth of Dr. Judith Orloff's professional experience, and it is resolutely compassionate."
–Mary Oliver, Pulitizer Prize winning poet
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, has helped patients practice the art of surrender to achieve emotional freedom for more than two decades. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom and the bestsellers Positive Energy, Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing, and Second Sight. She has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, the Today show, PBS, CNN, and NPR, and her TED talk debut of this book has over a half million views on YouTube. Find more information and inspiration at www.drjudithorloff.com.
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Before I get into those, I would like to give a caveat of sorts. If you are stone, cold analytical, driven solely by logic, and what Dr. Orloff would refer to as an intellectual, a dyed in the wool “show me the study” kind of person, or if you are very firmly in the atheist camp, I'm going to point you to Seligman's “Learned Optimism” as what I think would be a better choice for you to start on a more emotionally positive path.
Dr. Orloff espouses an approach to overcoming emotional struggles that heavily utilizes “intuition” and elements of spirituality. She also is a firm believer in fields of energy that surround living organisms and in the ability to sense and feel another person's emotions exactly as they are feeling them based on how I'm reading her book. Now, I love me my logic, but I'm rather spiritually inclined and I've experienced some things with my son, who has Autism among other things, that have me willing to accept her thoughts on some things as pertains to energy. He can pick up on me getting internally worked up about something, even with me being completely quiet and driving the car in the front seat where he can't see me and he reacts rather dramatically to it. Literally within moments of my tension level going through the roof he's screaming his head off, pretty much every single time. And before you ask, no, my tension usually isn't related to something on the road, sometimes I get tense as I'm thinking about problems, etc. that I need to work my way through, so there aren't any visual cues that would trigger him. So, it's not empirical by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm willing to give her thoughts on that some space in my mind because of that and some other experiences I've had in my life. But if you'd rather have an approach that doesn't involve any of those elements, this book may not be to your liking.
Next, I'd like to briefly touch a criticism I saw in some of the other reviews before I decided to purchase this, namely that Dr. Orloff relies too heavily on her own personal examples. You know, here's the thing. There are patient confidentiality laws she has to follow, and she can only share what her patients are comfortable with. Many people aren't so comfortable putting their own emotional struggles on the table for their friends and extended family members to look at, much less in a published book. It takes a special kind of courage to be that vulnerable with things that others can use to ridicule, demean, or discount you with. And Dr. Orloff shows that courage in sharing her own struggles. And really, if someone has never walked the path, sometimes it's harder to listen to what they have to say.
So, when it comes to the things that I was concerned with, and these are the elements I took off a star for, I am going to list them in order of biggest to smallest.
In one of the exercises on frustration, she encourages you to be deliberately rude to someone to notice how that makes your body feel afterward. I will be the first person to tell you, sometimes, I can be a little bit of a jerk (usually because I'm a little too detail oriented and I can get hung up on things sometimes), and sometimes I can be grumpy, but I don't ever intentionally try to be and I'm never proud of it. And when it's with a real person, I do my best to make it right. I just feel like most of us probably have enough memories of times we got a bit short with someone that we can draw on without actually making somebody's day harder. We don't really know what that person is going through, and I just worry that this kind of exercise can needlessly damage and harm another. So, if you buy this book, and I do think it's a solid choice, I'd encourage you to instead reflect on a prior experience and glean what you can from that instead.
Next, Dr. Orloff recommends telling people you know what they're feeling when they are going through something difficult. Even if you believe you are empathic, even if you've experienced something extremely similar, I'd like to share with you why I think “I'm so sorry you're going through that” or “that must be tough” might be better options. Just as people often have different perceptions of events, people have different emotional reactions to the same things. But let's suppose that you are “sensing” another person's emotions. I think it would be kind of like translating from one language into another, and you would still be flavoring it with your own experiences and frames of reference, which would change shades of meaning when it comes to how you're receiving that message. And for people like my son who respond to some sort of shift in energy, he might feel that, but he's not privy to the thought processes that brought it on, which removes critical information when it comes to interpreting what a person is feeling/going through. And for everyone else who's never sensed an emotion or an energy field coming off of another person, your way of processing something may have been very different, and there are people out there who will emotionally shut down on you if you tell them that you know exactly what they are feeling. (I'm one of them). As Fix it Felix would say of “Wreck it Ralph” fame, “You don't know Boo!” is how I'd be feeling if someone said that to me.
My final difference in opinion that I wish to touch on is from a comment she made about an ex-boyfriend who she encouraged to pray differently, and he didn't want to. She talks about how the “intellect can turn against you if it's too rigid...” I want you to know I am a person of deep religious and spiritual convictions. But I unequivocally respect the right of others to believe differently. Many people on religious and spiritual paths, whatever those paths are, have certain beliefs and practices that they hold sacred and dear to their hearts, and I think any attempt to help people should respect the boundaries of that and work with it where possible. If somebody pushed me too hard to do something I felt was against my faith, I wouldn't feel like that person truly respected or accepted who I am. Many things can be adapted to an individual belief system. If you said “intuition” to people I go to church with, they might say “huh?” but if you said “revelation,” that's speaking their language, and from where I sit, it's the same thing. Often times, there's common ground, and when there's not, in my book, love is always the answer.
Overall, I *love* that she encourages developing kindness, and metamorphosing who you are into the best version of yourself it is possible to be as you work through your challenges. Many of the things she recommends are standards in the field, and certainly some of it can be found elsewhere, but not everyone focuses so much on the benefits of transforming yourself to become a force for good in the world. and I actually tried some of her techniques on dreams and ended up with some very new and useful insights that actually helped move me forward in a couple of areas. I think, despite the fact that I've spent a fair bit of time discussing my concerns so that they could be adequately understood, the positives definitely outweigh them and I don't have any problems recommending this book. And perhaps also this book explains to me in some ways why the therapist who recommended it is such a beautiful person in every way that matters most.
Dr. Orloff's soulful labor of love, "Emotional Freedom" literally saved my life. It is because of her journey, her compassion, love and courage that I am daring to take a small step of faith and live. Dr. Orloff's words are so engaging and helpful. Each section is full of practical steps that you can take right away. She patiently guides you through a path as she thoroughly and clearly explains emotions and the impact they have over our lives.
I was told that when I was a child I was afraid to step through the door to my kindergarten class. Every day a different child was assigned the task of grabbing my hand and pulling me through the doorway. Nearly fifty-four years later, I am learning much about fear and courage. Recently, I was on the verge of opening a door leading to certain death. But I thank the Universe that I discovered Dr. Orloff's book. Today, a new door, a very special sacred door lies open for me. A new path to something better, a path of healing and hope. I am daring to step through this door and this time no one has to pull me through for I have found courage. Dr. Orloff has certainly rescued me from complete destruction and I am forever grateful!
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