A well-explained and precise solution for anxiety from the cognitive behavioral therapy school.

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WHY ON EARTH DO I FEEL THIS WAY?

UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY AND MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH CONTROL THEORY

A debut psychological work explains how Control Theory can help patients get a handle on their anxiety.

Everyone has anxiety. Defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, as simply “anticipation of a future threat,” some amount of anxiety is normal. But anxiety can sometimes manifest as anger, sadness, irritability, or nervousness, especially when people are unaware of the source. This can result in a feeling of having lost control of their lives. Anxiety does not have to reach the level of a disorder for it to become a nuisance. Arasz is interested in helping people get control over their anxiety so that they can feel in charge of their lives again: “Control Theory specifically focuses on anxiety and anxiety management because anxiety is at the root of any mental health disorder. By tackling the root cause of a disorder and learning how to control the underlying anxiety, we are able to minimize, decrease, or prevent the development of more severe symptoms.” The author describes how readers’ anxiety is often rooted in their core beliefs, which are internalized views that they form while they are children and are not necessarily accurate or true. These beliefs are often the source of their insecurities and fears. Certain triggers can agitate these beliefs, causing waves of anxiety that seem to come from nowhere. Arasz lays out methods for identifying these beliefs and triggers as well as helpful strategies for mitigating and even avoiding anxiety in readers’ daily lives. She hopes that Control Therapy will help everyone, from those suffering from mild anxiety to those with more severe disorders—since the feeling, in the author’s view, lies at the heart of nearly every mental ailment—and that it may even help curb the current epidemic of school violence. Tonally, the book manages to exist comfortably between more motivational, self-help offerings and denser psychological works. Arasz writes in a lively and accessible prose that makes it easy for readers to grasp her concepts: “Kids are master manipulators. It’s a natural defense mechanism for them as they are trying to figure things out in the world. They are trying to learn what they are able to do, what they can’t do, and what they’re not allowed to do.” The first section alone, which explains the causes and manifestations of anxiety, will be highly elucidating for uneasy readers. Control Theory borrows heavily from the popular cognitive behavioral therapy model, particularly the work of Judith Beck; Arasz credits her sources in the text and in the book’s bibliography. The author developed her theory over 17 years as a practicing psychologist working with adolescents, adults, and families, and she attests to its success among her patients. In its extreme focus on exercising control over one’s thoughts, the concept differs from more holistic approaches that incorporate considerations of diet and lifestyle. Those suffering from anxiety will have to try it for themselves to see if it works for them. If they do so, Arasz’s smooth prose and practiced communication skills will surely help shed some light on the causes of their anxiety.

A well-explained and precise solution for anxiety from the cognitive behavioral therapy school.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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