Book Review: Feeling Better

Have you ever read a self-help book? No? Me neither, I have never thought of myself as the self-help book type.  Obviously, there isn’t a type and it’s a ridiculous thought, but yet still I haven’t found myself down that Indigo aisle.   However, ‘Feeling Better:’ a self-help book for beating depression and improving your relationships written by Cindy Goodman Stulberg, DCS, CPsych, and Ronald J. Frey, PhD, CPsych was one that I HAD to read.  Full disclosure, I had to read it because my mother-in-law is the co-author of this book and well you just gotta keep the in-laws happy!  Also full disclosure I wouldn’t share this book with you if I didn’t think it was good or helpful and worth sharing.

Feeling Better is a self-guided book that takes you through a 12-week journey to improve your relationships which are often a significant factor in developing depression.  By using the principles of the research-proven approach called Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT); Goodman Stulberg and Frey have written a very tangible guide to reducing stress and improving your relationships that can be contributing to your unhappiness.   They share relatable stories from their experiences working with many patients they have seen over their combined 60 years practicing psychology and also personal stories to demonstrate how they themselves have used IPT exercises to improve their own relationships.   I felt like I got a little peek into my mother-in-law’s diary of stories reading along.

To demonstrate the journey, week by week the book follows 4 characters though fictional each have real and relatable problems.  I personally related to two of the characters; a new mom (surprise surprise) dealing with feelings of postpartum depression and feeling resentful of the freedom her husband gets daily heading to work.   I remember that feeling all too well after my first was born and frankly I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling to my partner.  An exercise shared in chapter 9 where discussing expectations of ourselves and of each other would have been helpful for dealing with these feelings of resentment.  The other character that resonated with me was a young woman who took care of her dying brother and now faces the idea of living after his death. I lost my father at the age of 25 due to cancer and it was a difficult transition for my mom, sister and myself and one that changed us forever. There were lots of feelings of isolation putting off friends because of not wanting to discuss the sadness that I felt, but talking about it probably would have helped my healing. Chapter 7 in the book shows you the steps to finding ‘your person’, one that you can talk with and open up to and how to broach the topic with them.

For all readers I think one of the most important chapters in the book is chapter 1 which asks you to stop and take the time you need to heal.  No one questions when you need to take a break due to a broken leg and the same should be said for mental health. With the holidays approaching, it’s no surprise that this is a difficult time of year for many due to seeing or not seeing family members you have complicated relationships with.  So if you thought you weren’t the self-help book type, then I hope you’ll reconsider like I did and see that we can all use the skills and tools shared in Feeling Better when it comes to our relationship.  The book is available for purchase via www.feelingbetterthebook.comIndigo and Amazon.

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League of Moms / 12/11/2018

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