Month: February 2018

asitreallyhappened#6 Looking back your childhood.

asitreallyhappened#6 Looking back your childhood.

How to develop emotional Health

By Oliver James, MacMillan, 2014

Pp. 141. £10.00. ISBN 978-0-230-77171-0

How can we face the complex process in our adult life? How can we live the present and get insight from our own actions? Or most importantly, how can we understand our emotions? These questions could be solved reading Oliver James’ book which is an useful tool to start putting in order our vague “black box”. Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of several titles in the field. He has his own website – the official one and by the way, he has been criticized for his peers due to some assumptions which are not central point in here. In this review, you will find some reasons to read the book, because by the end of the day, it is always important to have a different perspective about emotional health, so essential in this complex western society.

For James, emotional health has to do with living the present, the ability to get insights from our own individual actions which allow us to get more information about ourselves. From time to time, we experience all kind of “negative emotions”, that is depression, rages, phobias and so on, but as matter of emotional health, we are able to overcome them and still have the “value of our existence” (James, p. 2) Most importantly, James states that nobody has a fully emotional health in this way. However, it doesn’t make impossible to achieve it.

Achieving a decent emotional health is simple: just look back your childhood background in terms how our parents took care of us. Yes, that is exactly what the book says. Using clinical examples which convey all kind of degrees of emotional health, James tell us the features of our onw emotionality – how we react in front of the complex scenarios, have to do with how we grew up in our first years as a child. In simple terms, our parents were the source to develop our actual emotional health. A way to understand ourselves would be to understand how our parents educated us: were they tenderness? Did they listen to us? How did they teach us when we made a mistake? It is not about to criticize our parents, but to get a better picture of how our childhood was. This is the central point of the book and that is the reason why another title would be much better. Readers cannot expect steps, or so much practical exercises, but a simple explanation about why our development at home is important to understand why we are now and measure our degree of emotionality.

Whatever the reason is, this book is a good starting point to understand the origins of our actual emotional health. This book will give the readers the theory and few exercises to make big changes in how we can see the world from other perspective and be more joyful, but do not expect steps and recipes.