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Self-Help That Works: Resources to Improve Emotional Health and Strengthen… (2013)

– tekijä: John C. Norcross

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
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Self-help is big business, but alas, not always a scientific one. Self-help books, websites, and movies abound and are important sources of psychological advice for millions of Americans. But how can you sift through them to find the ones that work?Self-Help That Works is an indispensable guide that enables readers to identify effective self-help materials and distinguish them from those that are potentially misleading or even harmful. Six scientist-practitioners bring careful research, expertise, and a dozen national studies to the task ofchoosing and recommending self-help resources.Designed for both laypersons and mental-health professionals, this book critically reviews multiple types of self-help resources, from books and autobiographies to films, online programs, support groups, and websites, for 41 different behavioral disorders and life challenges. The revised edition ofthis award-winning book now features online self-help resources, expanded content, and new chapters focusing on autism, bullying, chronic pain, GLB issues, happiness, and nonchemical addictions. Each chapter updates the self-help resources launched since the previous edition and expands thematerial. The final chapters provide key strategies for consumers evaluating self-help as well as for professionals integrating self-help into treatment.All told, this updated edition of Self-Help that Works evaluates more than 2,000 self-help resources and brings together the collective wisdom of nearly 5,000 mental health professionals. Whether seeking self-help for yourself, loved ones, or patients, this is the go-to, research-based guide withthe best advice on what works.… (lisätietoja)
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You have probably heard about or read several of these self-help books:
…Each of these books has been at or near the top of national bestseller lists… Are they good self-help books and films? That is, do they provide accurate information? Do they help individuals cope effectively with problems? Are they useful as ancillary resources for psychotherapy? Do they foster personal growth and societal development? The consensus of mental health experts in the United States is that one-third of these books and films are not effective self-help resources; even though they were bestsellers and top grossing films, most experts view them negatively. The other two-thirds of the books and movies on this list are excellent self-help materials. In Self-Help That Works, we tell which are the good ones and which are the bad ones, which ones will probably help and which ones are mostly hype.
SELF-HELP RESOURCES

A massive revolution is occurring in mental health: self-help with or without professional treatment. This self-help revolution entails diverse activities: changing behavior by oneself, reading and applying self-help books, attending support and 12-step groups, watching films and incorporating their cinematic
lessons, surfing the Internet for advice and support, completing smartphone applications (“apps”) to improve daily behavior, and participating in alternative health care. All these and many other examples compellingly indicate that people are making concerted efforts to change themselves on their own.

Self-help has become an indispensable source of psychological advice for millions of Americans. Whether we want to improve our relationships, control our anger, gain self-fulfillment, overcome depression, become better parents, cope with stress, recover from addictions, or tackle another problem, there is a self-help resource. The affordability, accessibility, anonymity, and efficacy of
self-help have much to offer and the potential to reach millions more…

What do we mean by self-help? The concerted, self-directed attempt to improve behavior without (or with minimal) professional treatment. In a few cases, the definition of self-help is expanded to families, caregivers, and friends when a person (such as a child) is largely incapable of directing his or her own self-help attempt.

Even though self-help refers to self-administered efforts often unassisted by professionals, this book is also written for mental health professionals as an ancillary to the services they provide. In this book, our reviews of self-help books, films, and online programs describe their content and themes in ways that professionals can incorporate into treatment. Many of the reviews include sections written for practitioners offering suggestions on using the resource with their clients.

Self-help comes in many guises. In this book, we do not evaluate resources that are primarily religious in nature or medical in content. Our target is self-help for mental health topics: behavioral disorders (such as anxiety, depression, addictions, eating disorders), relationships (parenting, marriage, divorce, families, etc.), and life challenges (aging, career development, people skills, stress management). There
are 41 self-help topics in all, traversing the lifespan from infancy to aging and death, and ranging from understanding severe disorders all the way to achieving happiness.

The preoccupation with self-improvement is nothing new; it’s been around since the Bible. Benjamin Franklin dispensed self-improvement advice in Poor Richard’s Almanac: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” In the 19th century, homemakers read Married Lady’s Companion for help in managing their houses and families. In the 1930s, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People made him the aspiring businessman’s guru. They turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg.

Call it (Ralph Waldo) Emersonian self-reliance, the do-it-yourself nation, or the Home Depot effect, but the self-help revolution is upon us. Although health professionals naturally focus on the treatments they provide, the fact of the matter is that self-help is the major pathway to behavior change. In other words, more people change their behavior on their own than with the assistance of treatment. This year, more people will read a self-help book, obtain psychological information on the Web, and attend a self-help group than consult all the mental health professionals…

The advent of popular films, the information revolution, and the ascendancy of the Internet have given rise to a dizzying diversity of self-help resources. The urgent task, then, is to separate the wheat from the chaff. “The trick is knowing which one to read,” as a “Dilbert” comic strip put it about the thousands of self-help books. The soaring volume of self-help materials makes the question of quality—which ones will work?—increasingly urgent. Which information and which sites should be trusted?

This book is designed to guide you through this morass of self-help information—and misinformation—by providing quality ratings and concise reviews of six types of self-help: books, autobiographies, films, online programs, Internet sites, and support groups.
1. Self-Help Books

The self-help book market has an overwhelming, bewildering array of choices. Self-help books (including parenting advice) appear at the rate of about 5,000 per year…, and they routinely occupy prominent places on bestseller lists. But more than 95% of self-help books are published without any research documenting their effectiveness…. Buyers hope that they will work, but we do not have any systematic evidence to indicate that most will.

So how do people select self-help books? Until this book—Self-Help That Works—people have largely relied on the opinions of friends, ministers, doctors, therapists, talk shows, or the promotional information on the book’s cover. But even personal contact with professionals, such as physicians and psychologists, provides limited information about which book to purchase. Self-help books have been published at such an astonishing pace that even the well-intentioned professional has difficulty keeping up with them. The professional may be well informed about books in one or two areas, such as depression or anxiety, but may know little about books in other areas, such as eating disorders, women’s issues, relaxation, and parenting.

With literally thousands of titles on the market, we wanted to know what the leading psychologists in the United States think are the best and the worst self-help books. After all, restaurant critics inform us which restaurants are superb and which ones to avoid; automobile guides educate us about the gems and the lemons; and consumer magazines dispense advice on buying refrigerators, computers, and smartphones. A guide to self-help resources based on professional expertise and the best research is sorely needed. This book is that guide.

The good news from research is that self-help programs can be quite effective. Research reviews have determined that the effectiveness of self-help substantially exceeds that of no treatment and nearly reaches that of professional treatment…. For example, in one analysis of the effectiveness of 40 self-help studies, effect sizes for self-help were nearly as large as for therapist-assisted treatments …. Fears, depression, headaches, and sleep disturbances were especially amenable to self-help.

Similarly, bibliotherapy—a fancy way of describing the use of self-help books—has been shown to be valuable for many adults…. Comparable findings have been reported for the effectiveness of self-help books with specific disorders, such as sexual dysfunctions…, depression…, anxiety disorders …, problem drinking…, panic disorder…, and geriatric depression….

Others have compiled personal recommendations of self-help books …; however, our compilation is unique and, we believe, superior because our ratings are based on the collective wisdom of thousands of mental health experts. In 12 national studies, we asked mental health professionals to rate more than a thousand self-help books. We chose the books to be rated by the experts by examining the shelves of major national bookstore chains, by perusing the wares of large Internet book dealers…, by discussing self-help books with psychologists, by consulting the bestseller lists, and by reading numerous articles.
2. Autobiographies

The story of a life has been one of the most durable and popular literary forms. What is Facebook (and most blogs) if not a slew of autobiographies in progress?

People love personal, compelling stories of self-transformation. Autobiographies provide an inside view of life’s problems, drawing on the human capacity for self-description and self-analysis. Memoirs complement research and case studies performed from the outside looking in. Written in the person’s own words, an autobiography emphasizes issues that the writer, as distinct from a psychotherapist or researcher, considers important. Autobiographies describe disorders in their family and environmental context, provide interesting narratives with strong storylines, and in the end typically reveal a successful outcome.

A recent tide of confessions and revelations dominate the bookshelves (and Kindles and Nooks). Borrowing from Freud, Joyce Carol Oates coined the term pathography for the profusion of biographies featuring psychopathology. Hundreds of autobiographies by mental health clients provide an inside view of facing life’s problems. These memoirs cover virtually all diagnostic categories.

Autobiographical authors and their credentials vary tremendously. Some authors are celebrities, already the subject of public interest; others are writers, poets, and artists capable of portraying their inner worlds in words, songs, and drawings. Many accounts are written by ordinary people whose first contact with publishing is writing about their disorder. Some earlier accounts have become classics in mental health education; other books, by Kay Jamison (An Unquiet Mind), William Styron (Darkness Visible), and Mark Vonnegut (The Eden Express), are likely to become future classics. The books have been used in training mental health professionals and as part of therapy for mental health consumers….

The autobiographies listed and evaluated in this book were selected specifically for their availability. Our earlier research articles on autobiographies contained many historical accounts, often very difficult to obtain. For this book, we focused on first-person accounts still in print that covered mental health problems and life challenges. We visited bookstores and checked electronic booksellers to make sure that the book was still available. The date listed is that of the most recent edition, often in paperback. Even so, some books may no longer be available by the time this book is published. However, it is likely that an out-of-print title can be obtained on the used book market.

An autobiographical account presents a personal view of the disorder and its treatment. When an author says that a mood disorder was relieved by Prozac or blames a family member for some transgression, this represents the person’s view of the situation. Most of the books listed were written by the person with the disorder, but in a few cases they were written by a family member, which provides yet another perspective on the disorder and its treatment.

The self-help industry is virtually unregulated. Those with the most influence on which autobiographies are published and marketed are the publishers, the owners of large bookstore chains, and a hodgepodge of authors with a vast range of credentials, knowledge, and competencies. We hope our studies and this book exert a corrective influence. Systematic research and informed mental health professionals are superior to the merchandisers.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

Self-help is big business, but alas, not always a scientific one. Self-help books, websites, and movies abound and are important sources of psychological advice for millions of Americans. But how can you sift through them to find the ones that work?Self-Help That Works is an indispensable guide that enables readers to identify effective self-help materials and distinguish them from those that are potentially misleading or even harmful. Six scientist-practitioners bring careful research, expertise, and a dozen national studies to the task ofchoosing and recommending self-help resources.Designed for both laypersons and mental-health professionals, this book critically reviews multiple types of self-help resources, from books and autobiographies to films, online programs, support groups, and websites, for 41 different behavioral disorders and life challenges. The revised edition ofthis award-winning book now features online self-help resources, expanded content, and new chapters focusing on autism, bullying, chronic pain, GLB issues, happiness, and nonchemical addictions. Each chapter updates the self-help resources launched since the previous edition and expands thematerial. The final chapters provide key strategies for consumers evaluating self-help as well as for professionals integrating self-help into treatment.All told, this updated edition of Self-Help that Works evaluates more than 2,000 self-help resources and brings together the collective wisdom of nearly 5,000 mental health professionals. Whether seeking self-help for yourself, loved ones, or patients, this is the go-to, research-based guide withthe best advice on what works.

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