A straightforward, practical toolkit for identifying and overcoming barriers to change.
As clinical psychologist Dr. Jacobs demonstrates in this slim, efficient volume, our minds and bodies often work together to keep us from making changes that would improve our lives. Though the title may turn away some readers, the book’s structural concept, acting, is an integral component of the process. Not just a gimmick, this overarching theme helps reinforce the fundamental principles of rehearsing and repetition in working toward change. Jacobs’s caring, direct approach will engage even the therapy-averse. She teaches readers how to identify a desired change, to examine the emotional barriers that prevent one from making that change and to devise a practical plan of action for working toward a goal. Illustrating how the mind and body are deeply and intricately bound, she outlines the four systems that interact to shape how we act and feel: emotions, bodily reactions, thoughts and behavior. Since we can’t directly turn on or off the first two, Jacobs advocates focusing on changing the latter two. What distinguishes this book from much self-help hokum is the realistic discussion of the intense negative feelings that often arise from enacting change, and the techniques required for withstanding those feelings and moving forward. As the author explains, it’s necessary to take swift action, to forge ahead using a step-by-step plan, gradually diminishing fearful emotions by giving the brain evidence that engaging in the new behavior isn’t as dangerous as it had thought. Her methods are grounded in years of experience as a therapist, as shown through the case studies she uses to illustrate steps and challenges encountered in taking charge.
A self-help book that could actually work.