WHEN FEELING BAD IS GOOD by Ellen McGrath

WHEN FEELING BAD IS GOOD

KIRKUS REVIEW

 According to clinical psychologist McGrath (former chairperson of the American Psychological Association's National Task Force on Women and Depression), it's perfectly normal to feel depressed if you're a woman--in fact, if you're not angry or feeling victimized by the cultural pain of being female, you're living ``in a fantasy world of denial.'' Here--in a handbook packed with quizzes, diagrams, lists, charts, and exercises, and dramatized by pseudonymous anecdotes from her practice--McGrath spells out with great clarity how to recognize these bad feelings and use them positively. She distinguishes between what she terms ``healthy'' and ``unhealthy'' depression, and she examines in some detail six types of the former: three major ones based on victimization, unsatisfying relationships, and rage at growing older, and three lesser ones based on energy depletion, body image, and the mind/body connection. Quizzes help readers identify which type(s) of depression they are experiencing and to what degree, while ``action strategies,'' tailored to suit various personalities, offer a choice of coping mechanisms. These range from sedentary exercises such as making out a budget, watching an empowering movie (e.g., Thelma & Louise), or practicing visualization techniques to such energetic enterprises as shredding a phone book, smashing a mirror, or painting an oppressor's face on a pumpkin and then ripping its insides out. McGrath says that overcoming depression involves two steps and that women often are better at the first (expressing their feelings) than at the second (taking action to resolve their problems)--which she aims to encourage and enable women to do. McGrath breaks no new ground here, but she plows old fields with a sure hand, without stodginess or flippancy. (Drawings.)

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1992
ISBN: 0-8050-1474-8
Page count: 350pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992