Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Tools

About a month ago, I saw an episode of The Charlie Rose Show on PBS. His guests were a couple of psychotherapists who had written a book called The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence and Creativity. The person doing most of the talking was Barry Michels. Clearly an extrovert, he spoke warmly and passionately. Every now and then Phil Stutz would quietly make a profound point. They worked wonderfully together as the communicator and the innovator.

The problem that brought them together was the reality of having to tell their clients that it would take at least a year or more of therapy before any relief of their symptoms could be had. Was there no way to help their clients in the short term? It was Phil who began to cook up the idea of the “tools.” There are five of them. The first four are the main practices: 1) reversal of desire, which allows us to confront painful conditions with courage, 2) active love, which frees us from anger and judgment towards those that have offended us, 3) inner authority, for when we freeze in front of an audience, and 4) grateful flow, for cutting through the black cloud of worry. The fifth practice is aimed at generating a strong sense of the preciousness of each day of our life, thereby allowing us to stay motivated. This book is deceptively simple, which makes it accessible and easy to use. For more theoretical types, it might seem a bit thin on detail, especially when the authors start talking about the experience of “higher powers” in a Jungian sense.

I really enjoyed this little, helpful book. Recommended to people looking for immediately useful responses to everyday problems.

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