Secrets from the Sofa A Psychologist's Guide to Achieving Personal Peace by Dr. Kenneth Herman iUniverse
reviewed by F. M. Lupinetti
"...the personal peace process ... the conscious steps we all take, day after day, to get us closer to a state of happiness..."
This book reflects Dr. Herman's 45 years in practice as a clinical psychologist, and it is intended to serve as the next best thing to a series of personal sessions. The word "Secrets" in the title should not be misinterpreted to mean that Dr. Herman is dishing about his patients. Rather, he is presenting the tools and skills that he has found effective in his treatment plans. Dr. Herman belongs to the cognitive behavioral school of psychotherapy, and his emphasis is on change. How do persons with problems correct those thoughts, perceptions, and habits that stand between them and happiness?
The organization of this book is clear and logical, beginning with a section on understanding the etiology of one's difficulties, followed by a section on preparing to correct them. The most crucial section of the book is the third, "Your Personal Peace Process." This emphasizes embarking on a new course in life, dealing with obstacles that arise, and maintaining changes after they are implemented. The book includes a number of useful exercises, and it also contains a thoughtful discussion on when to seek professional help.
Secrets from the Sofa embodies a comprehensive plan that can be used to accomplish major changes in one's life. It is mercifully free of jargon and oversimplification. However it does challenge the notion that a person capable of undertaking its rigorous curriculum is probably the person who needs it the least. Nevertheless, many individuals who fall somewhere between the extremes of mental well-being will find Secrets interesting, even provocative, and potentially helpful.