In the climate of self-improvement that pervades our culture, there is an overwhelming amount of information about treatments for everything from alcohol abuse to sexual dysfunction. Much of this information is exaggerated if not wholly inaccurate. As a result, people who try to change their own troubling conditions often experience the frustration of mixed success, success followed by a relapse, or outright failure.
To address this confusion, Martin Seligman has meticulously analyzed the most authoritative scientific research on treatments for alcoholism, anxiety, weight loss, anger, depression, and a range of phobias and obsessions to discover what is the most effective way to address each condition. He frankly reports what does not work, and pinpoints the techniques and therapies that work best for each condition, discussing why they work and how you can use them to make long lasting change. Inside you’ll discover the four natural healing factors for recovering from alcoholism; the vital difference between overeating and being overweight; the four therapies that work for depression, the pros and cons of anger--and much more.
Wise, direct, and very useful, What You Can Change and What You Can’t will help anyone who seeks to change.
Psychologist Martin Seligman acknowledges that psychology sends us two contradictory messages about change. Psychotherapists and the self-improvement literature tout our ability to change ourselves for the better, whether with help from a trained professional or on our own. The biomedical model of psychology claims that mental illness is really a form of physical illness, emotion and mood are determined by brain chemistry, and personality is determined by genes. Neither view is true in the general sense--the things we struggle to change are either more or less changeable. The author cites research findings to help us see the difference.Review by John M. Ford "johnDC" The author plays it straight. "This book walks a political tightrope. On one side is the racist segment of the right, fervently hoping that intelligence, femininity and criminality are all entirely genetic. On the other side are many ageing 1960s liberals and their 'politically correct' campus heirs, condemning all who dare to speak ill of victims; failure, they say, results from poverty, racism, a bad upbringing, a malevolent system, under privilege, deprivation--from anything but oneself." Examining therapy outcome research, Seligman finds that panic and sexual dysfunction can be easily unlearned, destructive moods can be controlled, depression can be cured by conscious changes in thinking patterns, and optimism can be learned. However, it is vanishingly difficult to make dieting work, change the gender orientation of children, short cut the natural course of recovery from alcoholism, change homosexuality into heterosexuality, or fix adult personality problems by reliving childhood trauma. Seligman takes us through these and related issues examining what research tells us about realistic possibility for change.
This book is recommended for those who want to understand personal change, to attempt it when it can be achieved and avoid frustration and unrealistic expectations when it cannot. Search Amazon for What You Can Change And What You Can't. On 30 April price was listed at New $10.00 and Used $.2.50
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