Ever wondered why you are never happy
with anything you do? Why it is you always think you could have
done something better? Ever wondered why your bosses always get
angry when they don't get what they want, or why they can't accept
'no' for an answer?
Now, I'm not one for self-help books. You're not likely to see
me browsing the 'self-help' section at my local book store. Not
that I don't see their value. It's more that having studied
Psychology for five years I reckon I should be able to work that
stuff out for myself...
Self help based on clinical research
On a more serious
note, I don't believe in quick fixes and magic seminars that sort
out all your life's problems in one weekend. But I'm a great
believer in empirically-based and research-driven frameworks to
anything, including self-help.
And that's where this book is different. A good friend of mine
who is a clinical psychologist put me on to it when I was designing
a workshop. It's written by two clinical psychologists and is based
on years of research into the underlying causes of personality
problems, while drawing on the techniques and principles of
Unlike other self-help books, Reinventing Your Life is
comprehensive. It doesn't just deal with depression or obsessive
compulsive disorders; it deals with a wide range of personality
OK, so now you're thinking, that sounds heavy, a book for real
'nutters'. Well, no. Reinventing Your Life is suitable for
all of us. It helps us figure out why we do the same things over
and over again even though they're really bad for us (like falling
for the wrong man, attracting friends who use and abuse us etc).
Reinventing Your Life also helps us figure out why the
people around us keep doing what they do, even though their actions
and attitudes are bad for them!
The book's main premise is that the behaviours of most people
are strongly, but unconsciously, influenced by lifetraps.
Lifetraps are patterns that begin in our childhood and continue
reverberating within us throughout our lives. When the lifetraps
are really serious they result in personality disorders which
require formal therapy. But here's the catch, even if they aren't
that serious, they can still have a significant impact on our lives
without us even knowing it!
A common lifetrap for high achievers is 'Unrelenting Standards'
(see takeaway box). My clinical psychologist friend says that often
what drives many apparently highly successful people to see her is
a serious crisis like a health scare or a breakup. She believes
that if these people had become aware of their lifetraps sooner
they might have been able to develop some better coping strategies,
potentially avoiding the crisis.
Which Lifetrap is Yours?
What I like about this approach is that even though it's based
on serious academic work, it's written in a very accessible style.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of the eleven lifetraps and begins
with a short 'women's mag' type quiz. Don't let that fool you.
These quizzes are serious and have rigorous validity and
reliability. Each chapter then goes on to describe how the lifetrap
presents in its more severe forms - reading this of course made me
feel better because I could see even I'm not that bad! It also
provides some good strategies for you to work on if this is your
And, if you think you are absolutely lifetrap-free, then read it
to figure out why all the people around you are so crazy!
Have you read this book? We would love to hear your thoughts
about it. Are there other books you'd like us to review? Please
e-mail us your thoughts on email@example.com.
schema therapy website
The book on Amazon
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