A self-help survey of therapeutic practices based on wellness rather than sickness as a model.
“A healthy perspective is not a technique—it is an attitude that we give birth to each day,” writes clinical psychologist Wicks (Bounce: Living the Resilient Life, 2009). One can reinforce that attitude through mindfulness and meditation, through cognitive behavior therapy or through the more recent “discipline of positive psychology [which] is about living well. It is prevention-focused and works to expand existing competencies…people are encouraged to question themselves in a new, more holistic way.” In other words, Wicks stresses a perspective based not on a sickness that needs to be cured or a condition that needs to be remedied but on what laymen might term a positive mental attitude. With a host of sidebar boxes on questions to ask and techniques to consider, the author quotes liberally from works by other psychologists, Zen meditation masters and other religious traditions, and he includes principles that will sound familiar to those with experience in 12-step programs. Yet perhaps the best summary comes from literature, in an aphorism from Marcel Proust: “The real voyage consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” The new eyes offer a new perspective that resists the familiarity of old rules and habits, recognize hidden addictions and learn to find opportunity even in tragedy. It is about appreciating what you have rather than obsessing over what you lack, living in the present rather than fearing the future or ruminating over the past. As Wicks writes, “while we can’t completely change the world into what we would like or think it should be, we can alter the way we view it.”
Readers familiar with the territory will find helpful suggestions but little that is new or original.