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Recommended as a top-tier psychological self-help manual that cogently systematizes the benefits of compassion and empathy.

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This self-help manual teaches the basics of behavioral change through a careful, compassionate program based on being fully present when interacting with others.

Drawing upon her extensive experience in nursing, hospital administration and health-care practice, Donadio presents a practical manual illustrating how to change one’s behavior through a system she calls “Behavioral Engagement.” For all relationships, central to this method is “pure presence”—a state of being fully present when communicating with others, while dropping any preconceived notions of how the other person should or will act. Pure presence helps the participant utilize a nonjudgmental connection based on positive, empathetic emotions, shifting away from anxiety associated with compulsive and destructive behaviors. Among the techniques Donadio offers her readers are the maintenance of soft eye-focus during social interactions, listening to others with receptive patience and respecting patches of silence during conversations. Conveying to others how much you respect their self-directed decision-making process is one of several noteworthy, often overlooked practices. By employing these skills through the step-by-step instructions in each chapter—accompanied by questions that prompt critical self-reflection—Donadio believes readers can alter behavior in order to benefit from integrating various emotions and actions in a new light. Several studies (some referenced in the book’s footnotes) support her conclusion that this system of Behavioral Engagement can create sustainable behavioral change. Written in a simple, convincing style familiar to followers of pop psychology—though without the shallow oversimplifications rampant in much of that genre—Donadio presents a solid if not strikingly original case for the transformative power of receptiveness as she capably synthesizes principles drawn from diverse sources, such as Carl Rogers and Buddhist meditation. The sole weakness of her book is the familiar, persistent depiction of America’s burgeoning health problems that she believes, optimistically, Behavior Engagement can help overcome. Much of the text portrays those circumstances, although deeper descriptions of her therapeutic method would have been welcomed instead. Nonetheless, a few graphs and colorful cubist illustrations help break up the black, white and sometimes gray areas in the study of human interaction.

Recommended as a top-tier psychological self-help manual that cogently systematizes the benefits of compassion and empathy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983965992

Page Count: 142

Publisher: NIWH

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2012

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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