THE BOOK FOR NORMAL NEUROTICS by Allan Fromme

THE BOOK FOR NORMAL NEUROTICS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A therapist's answer to the limitations of his own profession. In question-and-answer format, Fromme goes through the factors separating everyday, self treatable neurosis from its more critical counterpart, requiring professional help. (One basic question: Are you dealing with the same problems over and over, and doing the same thing about them each time?) He also takes the position that intellectual knowledge of the principles of psychology, and even the kind of analysis that digs out childhood origins, have little short-term effect: it's behavior that changes thoughts and feelings, not the other way around. Thus the prescription is to do: get that divorced friend out of the house for a snack, movie, whatever, rather than spending all night agonizing over the causes of the breakup. Fromme's sense of doing involves taking control of one's life as a step toward maturity (focus on what you can change rather than on the immutable factors that are ""making"" you unhappy). The urging is to keep one's eye on the bottom line in a situation where, say, one might become justifiably angry; this means working to get another person on your side, even when instinct would have you tear the person apart verbally. There is reason to wonder whether moderation in approach mightn't be more effective here: though activity may get us out of depressions, etc., faster than endless self-analysis, there is a place for the brooding kind of working-through in long-term recovery. Still, for those inclined to self-help, some possibly useful, generally harmless precepts.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1981
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux