Practicing physician and psychotherapist de Goias offers an enlightening debut handbook of creative strategies to handle stress.
The author asserts that people must find resources within themselves to deal with inevitable change. Mastering the art of self-affirmation, he says, can keep people from depending on drugs, praise or other external factors. In therapy, he notes, the therapist provides ways to cope with immediate problems, much like an electrician uses his training and tools to fix a light. But de Goias show readers how to fix their own “electrical problems” by applying a flexible, analytic approach to living without “falling apart or using the spurious means we have discovered to divert ourselves.” To a great extent, he succeeds by using practical examples, as when he coaches that “the human being is not a mind with a body or a body with a mind. It is a mind, and just that. We use the body like a driver uses a car.” He also acknowledges that spiritual resources can be useful, but warns that true change mustn’t rely on “an external source of inspiration or enlightenment” or a counselor of “great brilliance.” The last five of the book’s 10 chapters may be less compelling for casual readers, as they repeat information from earlier in the book and address specific concerns that business managers face, such as “Understanding People’s Reactions to Change.” Despite that, this dense, quasi-philosophical treatise rewards patient readers with such catchy insights as “if you look back and discover that you were stupid yesterday, does it not also tell you that you are smarter today than you were yesterday?” Overall, de Goias simply challenges readers to empower themselves and find their own answers.
An often valuable tutorial that aims to show readers ways to handle whatever life throws their way.