If you believe that dieting down to your "ideal" weight will prolong your life; that reliving childhood trauma can undo adult personality problems; that alcoholics have addictive personalities, or that psychoanalysis helps cure anxiety, then get ready for a shock. In the climate of self-improvement that has reigned for the last twenty years, misinformation about treatments for everything from alcohol abuse to sexual dysfunction has flourished. Those of us trying to change these conditions are often frustrated by failure, mixed success, or success followed by a relapse. But have you ever asked yourself: can my condition really be changed? And if so, am I going about it in the most effective way? Grounding his conclusions in the most recent and most authoritative scientific studies, Seligman pinpoints the techniques and therapies that work best for each condition, explains why they work, and discusses how you can use them to change your life. Inside, you'll discover: the four natural healing factors for recovering from alcoholism; the vital difference between overeating and being overweight, and why dieters always gain back the pounds they "lost"; the four therapies that work for depression, and how you can "dispute" your way to optimistic thinking; the pros and cons of anger, and the steps to take to understand it and much more!
Psychologist Seligman ( Learned Optimism ) here examines common psychological disorders according to their biological and societal, or learned, components. Most enlightening are his analyses of the effectiveness of relaxation, meditation, psychoanalysis and cognitive therapies in the treatment of anxiety, which, along with depression and anger, he claims, can largely be controlled by disciplined effort. Tables demonstrating the success rates of various approaches to given problems, evaluative questionnaires and mostly jargon-free prose complement Seligman's comprehensive, unformulaic discussion. Maintaining that dieting will not help people who are overweight (``Weight is in large part genetic''), the author urges a focus on fitness and health; asserting that a child's psyche heals faster than an adult's, he observes that childhood trauma does not necessarily shape one's adult life: ``the rest of the tapestry is not determined by what has been woven before.'' Direct, instructive and nonreductive, Seligman's observations and theories are positive, realistic and sound. 75,000 first printing; BOMC alternate.