“About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.” ―
Self-Coaching By Joseph Luciani
In the past couple of months, I’ve been reading a book that’s made a real difference in my life. My life has been especially stressful lately because of my recent struggles with my health, coupled with my separation from the mother of my child. I’ve almost always struggled with anxiety and depression, it’s nothing new to me. I’ve never really known how to tackle the issue. I’ve tried therapy, journaling, challenging fears, achieving goals and a number of self-help books. Some solutions worked for a little while but stopped helping after a few days or weeks.
Recently, I was suggested this book Self-Coaching by Joseph Luciani from a therapist that I was working with. Boy, did I like the way that it sounded compared to other self-help books.
To start, this book was written by a Doctor of Psychology, who had over 25 years of experience at the time that he wrote it. Essentially, he had started himself on this very same program because of his own crippling anxiety and depression. This book does not claim to be a quick fix, but it does give the reader all of the tools that they might need to address the insecure thinking in their own lives. The same thoughts which feed both anxiety and depression.
So, what’s in the book?
First of all, the book does an amazing job of very simply breaking down the nature of the human mind and how it develops from a young age to protect itself from being damaged by all of the madness that is outside of its control, especially related to dysfunctional life at home. This is why it is so critical that children are cared for, nurtured and made to feel safe because every person’s history shapes the future of their thinking.
The ideology that the entire program bases itself around is the idea that every individual has their child’s voice inside of them still. It remains a part of their adult personality, but it doesn’t define who they are as a person. This “child-reflex” is responsible for the insecure self-talk that triggers anxiety and depression. This reflex has been developed from a young age as a way to deal with situations that feel out of our control.
For example; a child who’s suffered narcissistic abuse may grow up to think that no one will love them unless they are achieving great things, or they may believe that everyone is in it for themselves. The voice may tell us this is so, but by recognizing the voice before we act upon that voice, we can neutralize it’s effect on us. (To be honest. This example hits too close to home for me.)
The book goes on to say, anxiety and depression are actually our mind’s way of trying to control life by putting our bodies into either fight (anxiety) or flight (depression) mode. Our other expressions of control based around these insecurities can take the form of anger, withdrawal, manipulation etc. But it all comes back, to anxiety-depression and our inner-voice.
Why is this book different?
Well, this book is not the same as other self-help books, where you read through it once and feel good about yourself for a week or two, then forget all about it. This book is more of a therapeutic tool than a story of encouragement. It’s full of exercises which are going to help you begin to identify which of your thoughts are the result of insecure reflexive thinking and which of your thoughts are healthy and mature.
After a person has begun to grasp the concept of separating the anxious insecure thinking from the healthy thinking, grounded in reality, the book encourages shutting down the anxious thoughts the moment that they are recognized. This is all followed by a healthy dose of positive self-talk for positive reinforcement from the inside out.
What’s the best thing about this book?
In my opinion, the best thing about this book is that you get out of this program what you put into it. If you are a highly motivated and determined individual, than you will get better results sooner. If you half-ass your program and just give it a quick read through, it’s either going to take longer to help or it may not help at all. So you need to be dedicated.
It encourages self-reflection. It encourages building a deeper connection with yourself and your history. It encourages sensitivity towards your own shortcomings and it sets the blame, not on yourself, but on those feelings of insecurity which were developed inside of you at a young age. The book does not try to change who we are as people, yet it encourages recognition that some of our behaviors are simply the ghosts of our pasts. In recognizing that simple truth, there is a beautiful opportunity to find freedom from this habit of feeding our anxieties/depression.
The book then continues to share some insight into a number of different personality types, each with unique exercises to help and address their unique methods of control which cause stress. Dr Luciani also shares some personal stories from his clients that he’s helped to add context to all of the lessons that he teaches. These are both entertaining and thought-provoking.
What’s my opinion?
At the end of the day, I would recommend this book to anybody who suffers from some level of anxiety or depression, no matter whether it’s mild or severe. The psychological insights that it shares are extremely valuable to those who want change. If you care about understanding yourself, or others better, then it’s a worthy read. It’s also easy to understand and you can always return to the program in the future if you feel yourself beginning to slip away.
I believe it is well worth the 20$ or so that you will end up paying for this read on Amazon. A therapist may give you one exercise per session at 4 or 5 times that amount per visit! So if you are a person that cares about your mental health, what do you have to lose? Give it a shot. Maybe it’s just what you needed.
I will not be receiving any financial kickback from this review, I simply believe in this program because it’s helped me. So, I would like to also share this discovery with others who may be able to benefit from it in their lives!
Best of luck to each of you on your journey to positive well-being and great mental health!