Nonfiction book review in Psychology
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 of adult life? How can we live the present and learn from our own actions? Or most importantly, how can we understand our emotions? Such questions could be sorted by reading Oliver James’ book: How to develop emotional health, useful tool to sort our vague “black box”. Oliver James is a clinical psychologist and author of several titles related to his professional background.
Emotional health and the present. Emotional health has to do with living the present, the ability to get insights from our own individual actions, allowing 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 can overcome them and still have the “value of our existence” (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.
The childhood matters. Achieving a decent level of emotional health is simple. It is just to look back your childhood story and watch how parental care was. Surprised? Yes, that is exactly what the book says. By using his own clinical experience to exemplify different degrees of emotional health, James pictures the features of a common emotionality – how we react in front of complex scenarios, it is proportional related to the circumstances we grew up when we were toddler. In simple terms, how our parents took care of us determine pretty much how our actual emotional health is. A starting point would be to understand our parental education. Yet, it is not about to criticize dad and mum, but to get a better picture of how our childhood was. This is the central point of the book, reason of which why another title would be much better. Readers cannot expect steps, or so much practical exercises, but a simple explanation about why our domestic development is important to picture deeply why we are in the emotional way we are.
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 differently and be more joyful, but do not expect steps and recipes.
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