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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: Overcoming Regrets, Mistakes, and Missed Opportunities Paperback – February 28, 1992

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This popular presentation of cognitive therapy addresses the crippling effects of regrets about the past. The therapeutic approach, developed by Aaron T. Beck, psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania who provides the preface, is demonstrated in chapters that present situations wherein the destructive behavior described by the title is accompanied by techniques for change. Coming to terms with past failures and other disabling events requires action to "unblock" the past and to gain perspective. Practical exercises and programs to promote forward thinking and peace of mind are included in this useful exposition of cognitive therapy. Freeman ( Cognitive Therapy of Cognitive Disorders ) teaches at the University of Pennsylvania; DeWolf writes for the Philadelphia Daily News. First serial to Ladies' Home Journal.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

We have all made mistakes or had unfortunate things happen to us. Some of us let these negative events so overwhelm us that we cannot build our futures. Freeman and DeWolf show us how cognitive therapy can help us break out of the restrictions of the past by correcting wrong thinking that includes overgeneralization (because I picked the wrong spouse, I will always make the wrong choice) and perfectionism (because my work was not perfect I am disgraced). It is not easy to break out of these patterns of wrong thinking, but the authors offer simple and effective ways to do so. This easy-to-read book provides an excellent example of cognitive therapy at work.
- John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (February 28, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060973358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060973353
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carol C. VINE VOICE on August 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm currently plodding through the post-break-up depression that followed on the heels of a doomed relationship, and reading stacks of self-help books in an effort to salve my spirit. I'm usually skeptical that they'll contain worthwhile advice -- but this one is actually fairly useful, and even though it's aimed at across-the-table regret, I found it to be particularly well-suited to relationship-related regrets. For example, it discusses how we cling to unrealistic "memories of the future" --creating (after-the-fact) a wonderful future to our past relationships and situations, which then permits us to regret the loss of the fantasy futures which we never initially had. It shows how clinging to the past and "woulda,coula,shoulda" fantasies trap us and prevent us from moving forward and finding the life we want. The book starts with a an somewhat humorous analysis of the many types of flawed thinking -- overgeneralization, selective editing, catastrophizing, all-or-nothing thinking, mind-reading, etc. and gives plenty of examples of each of the above (and more). In the first chapter, I felt scolded for ever thinking that "all the single men my age are gay or ax-murderers." The book suggests numerous cognitive therapy techniques to get your thinking back on track, back in accord with reality (rather than self-defeating fantasy). The book challenges our instinctive desire to cling to the past and small comforts -- to hang around where there's a trickle of water rather than to risk searching for a full-blast fire hose. If you're stuck looking back and having difficulty moving ahead, give this book a try. It might not cure all of your regrets, but it should go a long way into helping you to give your regrets a reality check (and ultimately, give your regrets the boot).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After going through an unwanted divorce, I really was looking for something that would help me get past mourning over my lost relationship. So I ordered several books on "moving on" but this was by far the best. The authors explain in layman's terms the basis of cognitive therapy, which basically says that it is our thoughts about events which bother us. If we can change our thoughts, then our feelings will follow. This book is packed full of simple, yet understated advice that anyone could benefit from reading.
One of my favorite quotes from the book occurs at the end of a chapter and basically says, "Moving forward doesn't mean forgetting where you've been. It means that where you've been is not the only place you can go." I realized that I was stuck in wanting my past relationship (or one just like it) that I didn't know I could have something different.
Anyway, this is a definite for anyone who is afraid to move ahead because they "might" make the wrong decision or they "should" know the perfect answer. And if you have made a wrong choice or completely missed the mark, then this book will help you not only learn to forgive yourself, but also help you to begin taking baby steps in taking new risks and realizing that "Plan B" or C or D might be just as rewarding or maybe even better than the already failed Plan A.
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Format: Paperback
I admit it...I'm a perfectionist and an all-or-nothing sort of person. I'm also prone to global labeling and always want a guarantee of success without risk.

So, in dealing with the aftermath of a divorce, a relationship on the rocks, a stalled career, and financial collapse, it was incredible to find a book that gave practical advice (far better than the therapist I've seen) and the tools to change my life for the better. This book is well-written and has very little jargon. The authors don't sugarcoat or minimize the problems and are quite candid that people in need of their advice face a lifetime of continual work to keep from falling back into the woulda/coulda/shoulda traps. Since most of us W/S/C folks spend a lot of time thinking, changing your thoughts really does translate into a new life!

This book is a fast read...I was so hooked that I read it in two days, before and after work. Re-reading it is very useful and it doesn't hurt to take notes as you go along.

The pits of despair are still there but I'm not going to wallow in them any longer. This book was my lifeline out...maybe it will help you too.
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Format: Paperback
This very readable self help book is serious and funny at the same time. The humor helps a person who is avoiding problems get going. The ideas about changing thinking and behaviour to improve mood are most helpful and sensible. I also enjoyed seeing this man speak recently. Truely an inspiring and helpful person who knows the territory of emotional problems.
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Format: Paperback
I read this years ago when it first came out and it's one of those books that I will remember as changing my mind for the better. When negative feelings about the past eat at us, this book offers a cure.
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Format: Paperback
The authors have done a superb job in laying out strategies for breaking free of "regret" thinking and existing. One of the best suggestions they make is to stop demanding a guarantee of a perfect outcome before taking action -- and thereby being paralyzed into inaction -- and simply start thinking about what you can do to bring about circumstances that, while still not perfect, are better than what you have now. Great book. Many great self-help suggestions. Highly recommended.
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