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The Stress Solution: Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience Paperback – May 31, 2016
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Mira Kirshenbaum, author of I Love You but I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship
This book is a wonderful contribution to the ever-changing field of therapy. Based on research evidence, Dr. Ciaramicoli integrates the science and practice of empathy with traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to offer a wise and inspiring solution to the problems associated with stress. This book engages us in easy and effective strategies to help reduce unhelpful ways of thinking and to let go of stress. If you experience stress and are looking for a gentle, practical, and effective solution, empathic CBT will not fail to assist you.”
Dr. Bruno A. Cayoun, clinical psychologist, director of the MiCBT Institute, and author of Mindfulness-integrated CBT for Well-being and Personal Growth
Dr. Ciaramicoli has written an insightful and instructional book on empathic CBT. It was a beautiful and growth-inspiring journey for me, and it offers many takeaways and fresh insights. I especially love how, in the final two chapters, Dr. Ciaramicoli weaves all the concepts (i.e., courage, freedom, wisdom, authenticity, and altruism) together almost poetically, all of them mutually reinforcing and each of them enhanced by the power of empathy. Dr. C makes a very strong case for the supposition that empathy is truth-oriented. I couldn’t agree more, and this connection is made in our culture so uncommonly that the notion almost seems radical. He also makes the same case for self-knowing and our own growth and development. Just wonderful. I love this book.”
Dr. James Brennan, visiting professor of organizational behavior at Lehigh University and author of The Art of Becoming Oneself
In my many years as a practicing OB/GYN and CEO, I have never seen as many of my female patients negatively affected by stress as I have recently. Not only is Dr. Ciaramicoli’s book of wisdom timely, but his way of using empathy to uncover distorted thinking and using CBT techniques to alter these distortions is unique. In addition to being innovative, The Stress Solution gives us a practical way to lessen stress and consistently improve overall health. This book will be in my waiting room for a very long time, and I will recommend it to all my patients, colleagues, family, and friends.”
Mary Bethony, MD, CEO of All About Women, Framingham and Westboro, Massachusetts
Dr. Ciaramicoli has created a new, incredibly effective way to combat stress by combining the use of empathy with the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy. This book is an excellent tool for combating the stress and anxiety in our current society, and it also teaches us how to balance our lives given the tremendous stressors in our world. I particularly value Dr. C’s chapter on the stress of prejudice, which offers a very insightful look at the negative effects of bias and how to perceive free of past conditioning. I have asked my family, friends, and clients to read this wonderful book, and I hope you will do the same for all those you care about.”
Dr. Robert Cherney, chief psychologist at Advocates Community Health Services, Framingham, Massachusetts
Dr. Ciaramicoli’s latest work, The Stress Solution, is a must-read. Period. Full stop. In my work as a cognitive behavioral psychologist, I know the power of CBT for managing stress. In my work in the humanitarian sphere, I know the power of empathy. But never before have I seen the two brought together in such a creative and compelling, synergistic approach. How brilliant logic and emotion combined to augment each other. Bravo, Dr. Ciaramicoli!”
Chris Stout, PhD, founding director of the Center for Global Initiatives and clinical professor at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
Stress has reached near-epidemic proportions in America, and according to clinical psychologist Ciaramicoli, the real harm comes from the flawed ways people respond to stress. Ciaramicoli makes clear the value he places on experience over textbook learning, and in this vein, his book imparts more actions to take than information to absorb. Some research is included, but real-life examples have the greatest prominence, many taken from the author's clinical encounters. Each chapter is replete with practical exercises and reflective journal questions, all conveyed in readable lists or tables. There are even detailed dietary recommendations. In basic terms, this is a guide to living with balance and awareness. Ciaramicoli's major contribution is a persistent focus on empathy, not only as a hypothetical remedy to stress but as a learned behavior, achieved through a change in perspective and worked like a muscle. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, though rarely mentioned explicitly after the book's opening, is the theory behind many of its practices. Readers will find Ciaramicoli's recommendations easy to follow and helpful to implement.”
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The Stress Solution: Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience, by Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, Ed.D., Ph.D. builds on his previous, fantastic book, The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-understanding, and Lasting Love in Your Life.
Here are some things I really like about this book:
First, I like how he defines empathy, in a new and different way, besides the usual way, which he also includes. Here’s his novel definition: “Seeing things as the really are.” I like that definition because it is an admission that we connect with the real world from within—empathy arises from within and is an intuitive response. We become one with what we empathize with, which is one goal of spiritual awareness.
Second, I like how he emphasizes being empathic with oneself. I recall an important time in my life when I kept complaining, “no one listens to me!” Finally, I got the message, “It is ME who is not listening to me!” So I began a program of giving myself big doses of my imitation of Carl Rogers. For every thought that appeared, I’d respond with reflective listening. Pretty cool! It really helped.
Third, I’m a big fan of using thought stopping, or story switching, to get myself out of a bad mood. I can catch myself thinking thoughts that bring me down. I now can recognize them more quickly and shift my focus to something more positive. If the negative thoughts won’t go away, I pull out my self-empathy routine to find out what’s going on. A whine is a pain that is not heard and keeps asking for an ear.
Fourth, I really like his conception of “performance addiction.” Similar to Type A mentality—that’s me!—and I find that when I feel stressed, I am probably trying to get myself to do something I don’t really feel like doing. Depression is my meat tenderizer and helps me get back on the path of, “chill out,” “loosen up a bit, will you?” and “go for a walk!”
The author covers all the bases. It’s worth reading, assuming you’ve got the time to spend with yourself that way.
In this book, Dr. Ciaramicoli introduces Empathic CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). He notes that empathy is the capacity to understand and respond to the unique experience of another person. CBT works to solve current problems and change unhelpful thinking and behavior.
On page xv, Dr. Ciaramicoli points out: “When we give and receive empathy, transformation occurs. An empathic interaction produces calming brain chemicals that create a sense of security and positive feelings. These brain changes make us happier and more resilient.”
Much of the power of this book is in the stories that Dr. Ciaramicoli tells with care and skill. We feel the power of the life-changing insights.
On page 124, Dr. Ciaramicoli coaches us that often it helps to connect with people who give us honest feedback and then we discover “our biased theories.” He continues, “When you rediscover the truth, you will likely be more focused on what is right about you and stop the constant search to find out what is wrong with you. Your stress and anxiety will lessen.”
In Chapter 11, starting on page 127, Dr. Ciaramicoli guides us in the ways of “Empathy, Self-Care and Well-Being.”
The power of this book is in how Dr. Ciaramicoli tells the truth. He does not hold back. Still, the book has such a warm and kind tone. On page 171, he shares: “This is how empathy works. As defenses fade and new possibilities enliven our spirits, we realize that our health and survival depend on our ability to accurately understand and sensitively respond to each other. Empathy creates a foundation of trust that engages our brain chemistry, calms our soul, and puts us in a position to listen. We can then open up and take in what we need to hear in order to rewrite our story, correct distorted thinking, and at last become who we are destined to be.”
For all of us leaders—whether of ourselves, our family or at work, it’s vital that we make the most important into The Most Important. As an Executive Coach and Spoken Word Strategist, my job is to help executives, business owners and others reach and at times exceed their potential for higher levels of success and even happiness. This gives me a real appreciation for what Dr. Ciaramicoli’s book accomplishes.
Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli’s book The Stress Solution is evidently designed to empower you to be stress-skilled, resilient and even happier. Make reading this book a priority. You’ll benefit so much from such a good decision and action.
Full disclosure: I recently interviewed Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli for our Inspire Nation Show.
I think bringing empathy into CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is brilliant; it helps those in need to feel better, and puts them in a position to help others. I love this book. I love the approach, and I think it's just what the world needs.
I've read so many stress books lately, but this one stands out from the crowd. It doesn't just help you overcome stress but become a better person at the same time!