Becoming an Exceptional Executive Coach: Use Your Knowledge, Experience, and Intuition to Help Leaders Excel Review

Becoming an Exceptional Executive Coach: Use Your Knowledge, Experience, and Intuition to Help Leaders Excel
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A book for those concerned with leadership and management change. This is important as the largest weakness in companies is execution. The book uses numerous examples to explain concepts, plus providing many samples and templates for the practitioner. Having a committee write a book means it come with a lack of personality to spice up the pages. However this is a reasonable base book for the beginning coach.

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Coaching is more than simply learning a process and set of skills. Exceptional coaches draw on their professional experience, knowledge of organizationally relevant topics, strong helping skills, coaching-specific competencies, and most important, their ability to use their own intuition in the service of the client. "Becoming an Exceptional Executive Coach" is the first book that brings all of these elements together to guide readers in developing their own personal model of coaching. Beginning with a self-assessment, readers will examine the core content areas crucial in any coach's work, from engagement and goal setting to needs assessment, data gathering, feedback, and development planning - and then learn how to combine that knowledge with the unique perspective they bring to the table as individuals in order to achieve maximum coaching effectiveness. Each chapter includes a case study that brings the practice of coaching to life. Tools include charts, development plans, contracts, and more, plus ongoing discussion of the role of coaching in organizational contexts.

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Child Development, Second Edition: A Practitioner's Guide (Social Work Practice with Children and Families) Review

Child Development, Second Edition: A Practitioner's Guide (Social Work Practice with Children and Families)
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As a clinical psychologist and professor in a Clinical PsyD program I thoroughly endorse this book. This is a graduate level text and I can say with certainty that professors that utilize this book will produce students grounded in the topic. I have used this text in eight consecutive semesters and my students really love this book. It is easy to read, but sophisticated. Each chapter on a developmental stage is followed by case examples whereby developmental concepts are applied. Your students will have a thorough grounding in latest findings in child development and be able to translate this into their clinical work. I cannot say enough about the superiority of this text.
Kim Vander Dussen, Psy. D., RPT-S
Licensed Psychologist
Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor
Associate Professor, Argosy University, Orange County

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A Work of Heart : Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders Review

A Work of Heart : Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders
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Most books for Christian leaders I have read lately deal primarily with skills. I recommend many of these to pastors in my work as a church consultant, because leadership skills are critical to effectiveness.
But McNeal in this book deals with something more foundational than skills--how God shapes the heart of a leader. After four wonderful character sketches, tracing how God shaped the hearts of Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus, preparing them for leadership, McNeal moves into what he calls the six "subplots" of the leader's life: culture, call, community, communion, conflict, and the commonplace.
In the chapter on culture, the author describe two options for how the church can relate to the world--as refuge or mission. Refuge "congregations focus on the past. Fearful of change, these churches create a safe, nostalgic haven for their members." In the missional church, however, "leaders who want to transform the culture seek to build as many bridges as possible to the world outside the faith."
The chapter on communion is probably the best treatment I have seen of the importance of "sabbath time"--regular, protected periods of time alone with God--that I have read. I have been suprised in my work by how few pastors have a discipline of regular, intentional blocks of solitude every week or every other week. I believe that this, far more than learning any set of skills, has the potential to infuse power into the ministry of spiritual leaders. For many pastors and other spiritual leaders, this chapter alone, if heeded, would be worth many times the price of this book.
I sometimes close or follow a consultation by giving the senior pastor the gift of a timely book. This is one I expect to be giving often.

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Eleven Self-Empowerment Protocols: New Paradigms for Our New Civilization Review

Eleven Self-Empowerment Protocols: New Paradigms for Our New Civilization
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I borrowed this book from a friend after seeing Neville at the Virginia Beach IANDS meeting. He is an entertaining speaker, and I wanted to see what he had to say in his books. I fully expected to read the 105 pages in an hour or so, but quickly saw that this little book is one of those you could study for a lifetime as a manual for enlightement. I spent five days slowly reading and absorbing each sentence. While there may be more fluent writers, Neville's languaging forces you to slow down and really absorb what he is saying here. I say read this book, and then buy copies for all your friends, because you will want to keep your own at home. Thank you Neville!

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Eleven Self Empowerment Protocols is a teaching about becoming whole, complete within oneself.In our world this is all but unimagined.As our civilization advances there are more and more of us that are self-sustaining.Think of people as self-fulfilling, self-generating and self-satisfied, this consciousness and at the same time integrated into family and society, it's the way of the future.The way it is other people have too much weight in our decision making process. Other people's opinions, unsolicited and hurled at us, are really just their opinions of them selves and rarely have anything to do with us.Coming to terms with this new form of awareness is the next step in the conscious growth of humanity. This work reminds you to recognize that you are feeling bad.Then how to plug in a Protocol...Voila, just resume carefree play! The book is designed to put your life back in your own hands.The age of co-dependence is coming to a close.Classes, teachers books, yes, now add something else to it, yourself.It's time to put it up on line internally. Welcome yourself to the world of self-sovereignty, a life where you decide and therefore create your reality. "It's no longer about some guru.It's time to see that it is about you."

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Jung (A Brief Insight) Review

Jung (A Brief Insight)
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Let me start to mention that I am not a social scienticst myself; my impression was that Jung is considered as someone who introduced many breakthrough concepts in psychology, but is also being 'hyped'. Therefore I was looking for a few books that would give me a proper (= not too appreciative, but scientifically objective) introducton to Jung and his ideas.
First I read Calvin Halls "A Primer of Jungian Psychology", but I found that book difficult to read. At the end I was unable to summarize Jungs ideas for myself. For me this is always a good test whether or not a book has had any impact on me. A year later I came accross the VSI by Anthony Stevens. Perhaps, reading Hall prepared me, but I found the VSI book very good.
What I like in particular about the VSI book is:
- it seems rather objective to me (i.e. maintaining a somewhat critical undertone)
- it now and then openly acknowledges that Jungs approach was rather non-mainstream, sometimes against-the-stream. Allowing the reader to make up his own mind.
- its division into well organised chapters helps the reader to progress through the book and look up things afterwards.
I also missed a few things:
- Stevens emphasizes Jungs goal to develop a psychology aimed at "personal growth and development". In this context, I would be very interested to see a comparison with the ideas of Viktor Frankl. After all, one cannot discuss existential psychology without mentioning Frankl.
- I would have liked to see more material included about the present day status of Jungs ideas: since I am not a psychologist myself, I wonder to what extent Jungs ideas are still upheld today. Especially all his ideas about dreams: to me this seems difficult to test scientifically.
Summary: easy to read book, after finishing it I have the impression I learned a lot. I recommend it.

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Full Recovery: Creating a Personal Action Plan for Life Beyond Sobriety Review

Full Recovery: Creating a Personal Action Plan for Life Beyond Sobriety
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This book is a life changer!
Real life testaments of alcoholism and addiction will bring the reader's personal addictions, struggles and battles to the surface, making these negative issues easier for each and every reader to grasp, understand, and work to resolve within themselves.
READ THIS BOOK WHETHER YOU HAVE A SERIOUS ADDICTION OR NOT! It will make you a better person and guide you to living a happier and healthier life.
I strongly recommend reading this!!!
If you desire to rid your life of the evils of addiction, alcoholism, etc; I emplore you to read this book!
Your future happiness, health, and sobriety are waiting on you to take action.
Your new life begins on page one of this amazing book!
Pick it up like I did and your happiness will soon follow : )

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You've been able to stay alcohol and drug free for a period of time, but something's still missing. Addiction is a physical, spiritual, and emotional disease. Detox deals with the physical aspect, and a 12-step or some other type of spiritually based program teaches you how to remain abstinent. But what about the emotional or mental challenges that must be overcome? Are you ready to move beyond financial scarcity? Are you floundering in an unfulfilling career or personal relationship? These real-world challenges often lead to an uninspired, mediocre recovery and can be major contributors to relapse. It's time to move forward, discover your life's purpose, and reach your full potential. This book is designed to help you design an action plan, create momentum, and achieve results. The universal truths presented here have taken me from being a low-bottom alcoholic/addict to a successful entrepreneur and author with twenty years of continuous sobriety. The suggestions and exercises I present have worked for me and countless others. They will work for you if you choose to let them. So you're sober; what's next? No doubt you achieved sobriety with guidance from someone who knew how to get and stay sober. I speak your language; let me do the same for you on the next step to full recovery. Let me be your life coach on your journey to abundance. Everyone loves a great comeback story. Achieving full recovery is the greatest comeback story you'll ever tell because it will be your own.Full Recovery is a valuable book not only for those in recovery from addictions but also for those looking to grow toward their full potential. This book fills a void in recovery literature specifically addressing life after getting sober. Recovery principles and spiritual concepts are effectively integrated into a framework for readers to apply to their career, relationships, and spirituality. Through real-life examples and action plans, Full Recovery inspires readers to use challenges and adversity as sources of motivation toward creating a productive, meaningful, and successful life.-Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, author of Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic, therapist at the McLean Residence at The Brook, Waltham, Massachusetts (affiliated with Harvard Medical School), and licensed mental health counselor in private practice at Confidential Care, Norwell, MassachusettsFull Recovery is a must-have resource not only for anyone who wishes to deal with addiction but also anyone who wishes to live a full, abundant, and amazing life. Brian McAlister's personal story will inspire those who think they're 'too far gone' to keep going and know that there is hope.-Melissa Bradley, MS, NCC, BCETS, FAAETS, psychotherapy and international clinical trainer on resilience and healingOne of the best how-to books I have read in a long time. This book abounds with information and exercises to live a more abundant life. With Brian's advice, you can't miss.-Frederick T. Reihl, CEO, Freedom House, drug and alcohol treatment center

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The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action Review

The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
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As a consultant working with various companies, I found the content of this book very useful in providing a framework for strategic planning sessions. One of the biggest challenges for executive leadership teams is to move from smart talk to action. Using the principles from this book, I've found leadership teams now focused not only on strategic thinking but also on translating that thinking into action. In addition, the Harvard Business Review article, "The Smart Talk Trap", was excellent pre-reading for executives prior to the strategic planning session. The case studies provided real life examples that leaders can relate to. This book is a must read for anyone struggling to implement new strategies! I intend to continue to use it with executive leadership teams.

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The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, Second Edition Review

The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, Second Edition
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The Nonprofit Sector is an essential resource for anyone studying nonprofit organizations and how they operate. It is a compendium of the latest research on the core aspects of nonprofit organizations -- the things that make them unique in terms of their purpose, structure and tax status. The handbook includes chapters on the various theories for the existence of nonprofit organizations, including the major political, economic and social theories, as well as full discussions of fund raising, voluntarism, governance and other key topics.
I teach a graduate course in the theory and practice of nonprofit management and use this book as one of two main texts.

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The second edition of The Nonprofit Sector provides a novel, comprehensive, cross-disciplinary perspective on nonprofit organizations and their role and function in society. This new, updated edition keeps pace with industry trends and advances as well as with the changing interests and needs of students, practitioners, and researchers. As before, every chapter has been written to stand on its own, providing sufficient background for the reader to follow the argument without referring to other chapters-allowing readers to selectively choose those chapters that are most relevant to a particular course, interest, or issue. The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook includes twenty-seven new or updated chapters. Relevant chapters from the previous edition have been refined, and new chapters have been added to fill in gaps, making this the authoritative reference for all who want an accessible, perceptive, and all-inclusive rendering of the nonprofit sector. The contributors-prominent scholars in their respective fields-carefully reflect upon the variety of changes in the rapidly growing world of nonprofits, examining a wide array of organizations, international issues, social science theories, and philanthropic traditions and covering a broad range of topics including the history and scope of nonprofit activities in the United States and abroad, the relation of nonprofits to the marketplace, government-nonprofit issues, key activities of nonprofits, aspects of giving to and joining nonprofits, and nonprofit mission and governance. For anyone who wishes to have a deeper understanding of the nonprofit sector, this remains the essential guide.From reviews of the first edition:"[This book] is the closest thing to a 'bible' of nonprofit sector research and state-of-the-art social science knowledge as currently exists."-Dennis R. Young, Public Administration Review"Invaluable to anyone currently engaged in research or policy decisions involving nonprofit organizations or, for that matter, considering becoming involved."-Jerald Schiff, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management"An exceptionally useful resource."-Mark D. Hughes, The Philanthropist

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The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results Review

The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results
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I have read and loved a couple other books by this Author. I mean I really liked them so when I saw this new work I snapped it up. I'm very disappointed. I can't say it is an awful book obviously other people on here love it. But what I found was chapter after chapter of the same message packaged in a different way. When it said 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, that is what I expected. To me I found a few simple truths and no actions for results. But then again I'm not big on optimism or pessimism per se, I think being a positive realist works best. Just not for me.

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Gerotranscendence: A Developmental Theory of Positive Aging Review

Gerotranscendence: A Developmental Theory of Positive Aging
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Just the best thing I have seen on understanding the developmental possibilities of old age.

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Given the 2006 GREAT GERONTOLOGY AWARD for outstanding contribution to gerontological research by the Swedish Gerontological Society

Received a VALUE GROUND AWARD from the journal Aldreomsorg (Old Age Care)
Expanding upon his earlier writings, Dr. Tornstam's latest book explores the need for new theories in gerontology and sets the stage for the development of his theory of gerotranscendence. This theory was developed to address what the author sees as a perpetual mismatch between present theories in social gerontology and existing empirical data.

The development towards gerotranscendence can involve some overlooked developmental changes that are related to increased life satisfaction, as self-described by individuals. The gerotranscendent individual typically experiences a redefinition of the Self and of relationships to others and a new understanding of fundamental existential questions:

The individual becomes less self-occupied and at the same time more selective in the choice of social and other activities.
There is an increased feeling of affinity with past generations and adecreased interest in superfluous social interaction.
The individual might also experience a decrease in interest inmaterial things and a greater need for solitary "meditation." Positive solitude becomes more important.
There is also often a feeling of cosmic communion with the spirit ofthe universe, and a redefinition of time, space, life and death.

Gerotranscendence does NOT imply any state of withdrawal or disengagement, as sometimes erroneously believed. It is not the old disengagement theory in new disguise. Rather, it is a theory that describes a developmental pattern beyond the old dualism of activity and disengagement.

The author supports his theory with insightful qualitative in-depth interviews with older persons and quantitative studies. In addition, Tornstam illustrates the practical implications of the theory of gerotranscendence for professionals working with older adults in care settings. A useful Appendix contains suggestions of how to facilitate personal development toward gerotranscendence.
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The Velveteen Principles for Women: How to Shatter the Myth of Perfection and Embrace All That You Really Are Review

The Velveteen Principles for Women: How to Shatter the Myth of Perfection and Embrace All That You Really Are
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I picked up this book by chance at BEA, and discovered it really defied all my expectations. This book does not give you permission to lower your standards or fail to meet your goals--rather, it encourages you to make your OWN standards and make sure the goals you're aiming for are truly YOURS. It allows women to take some time out of their daily care-giving routines to nurture themselves. I find myself returning to this book often and recognizing behavior and thought patterns that severely limit my joy: "I should lose weight; these extra pounds are so embarrassing. My skin should be tanned and free of blemishes; I feel hideous and shouldn't go outside. I shouldn't make any demands or act emotional in front of my boyfriend, or he won't want me." Should, should, should. NOT the Real me! The super-ego can be a wonderful thing; it helps regulate our own selfish desires so we can get along smoothly in society. But sometimes, in the quest for generic perfection (which doesn't really exist) we girls forget to keep it real, and our inner critic keeps insisting we have to twist ourselves into a pretzel because our Real, imperfect selves aren't worthy of love. This book shows us how to stop worrying about other peoples' expectations, and to redefine our own. I'm a happier person for reading this book, and very grateful to Raiten-D'Antonio for putting down on paper what must be racing through millions of women's minds. Velveteen Principles for Women is written in a tone so supportive, plain, and full of common sense, that upon reading it, it's almost impossible to deny that perfection is a myth, and Reality can be extremely satisfying. I recommend this book to anyone, especially to men who wish to better understand a woman's experience. I'll be sending copies to all my close friends and female relatives.

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The Velveteen Principles for Women is a motivational guidebook for those who want to identify the sources of their unhappiness and become genuinely Real themselves. It is essential reading for women who want to free themselves from self-doubt, silence their inner critics, and live as the Real, unique, andvaluable women they are meant to be.

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The Nightly Book of Positive Quotations Review

The Nightly Book of Positive Quotations
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I gave this book to someone who just had surgery - what a up-lifting and positive gift idea!

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Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal Review

Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal
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Written for students, therapists, and pastors, the textbook Family Therapies is designed to provide intelligent content about psychotherapy topics, while not losing readers with less clinical inclinations. The book accomplishes this goal.
Students reading the textbook will receive an ample review of major family therapy models, while counselors will benefit from the more nuanced clinical insights of the authors, such as the "respect commitment," a concept that can be implemented during times of family stress or crisis. According to the authors:
The respect commitment is a pledge to not provoke secondary crisis through acts or attitudes that are known to cause additional pain for other family members. For example, a family member might sooth their pain by stopping at a sports bar after work and watching a NASCAR race and drinking a beer, or walking alone in the woods [for two hours] before coming home...Or an adolescent might choose to spend $400 of his or her money saved for college on clothes or stereo equipment--impulsively, without consultation with a parent. The respect commitment says that for the time being each member will respect others by not engaging in behaviors that are within your "individual right" but are also known to be potentially incendiary (p. 320).
Ideas like this one are scattered throughout the text like so many chocolate espresso beans in my trail mix. And like those beans, they have helped me to think sharply about new techniques that could work with current clients, and brainstorm new ways of approaching therapy with future ones.
While a textbook by definition, it is conversational enough to read straight through. Granted, 500 pages will take you a while, so you may want to start with the family therapy models in which you have interest. The text surveys major family therapy models including:
· Bowenian Family Therapy
· Strategic Family Therapy
· Structural Family Therapy
· Psychodynamic Family Therapy
· Contextual Family Therapy
· Experiential Family Therapy
· Solution-Focused Family Therapy
· Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy
· Narrative Family Therapy
In the second half of the book, Yarhouse and Sells take a topic-based approach and address a selection of family therapy issues including crisis and trauma, marital conflict, and substance abuse.
Bottom Line
This is not a ground breaking study, a Yalom page-turner, or a self-improvement must-read. But it is an unusually well written textbook. It's a good choice if you're a therapist or counseling pastor looking for a serious guide to Christian family therapy.
Final Note: If you're looking for an Online Counseling Textbook, this is the best online therapy / telephone therapy text on the market:
The Therapist's Clinical Guide to Online Counseling and Telephone Counseling: The Definitive Training Guide for Clinical Practice

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Christian therapists doing family therapy have never had a resource to help them navigate the various family therapy theories from a Christian perspective--until now.In this book Mark A. Yarhouse and James N. Sells survey the major approaches to family therapy and treat, within a Christian framework, significant psychotherapeutic issues. The wide array of issues covered includes
crisis and trauma
marital conflict
separation, divorce and blended families
individual psychopathology
substance abuse and addictions
gender, culture, economic class and race
sexual identity
Calling for an integrated approach of "responsible eclecticism," they conclude with a vision for Christian family therapy.A landmark work providing critical Christian engagement with existing models of family therapy, this volume was written for those studying counseling, social work, psychology or family therapy. Family Therapies will also serve as an indispensable resource for those in the mental health professions, including counselors, psychologists, family therapists, social workers and pastors.

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Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing (Norton Professional Books) Review

Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing (Norton Professional Books)
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Dr. Robert Muller has provided psychotherapists with an extraordinary
book! It is impressive in both its presentation of therapeutic strategies
and its insights into the experiences of clients who are known to be very hard to treat.
This book integrates attachment theory and recent advances in the
treatment of intra-familial trauma, and it details new psychotherapeutic techniques to
work successfully with clients for whom therapy can often be highly threatening.
Perhaps most significantly, Dr. Muller helps the reader to learn how to
meaningfully engage clients who present with a self-protective, help-rejecting
stance. With vivid and fascinating vignettes, brilliant insight, and an intimate,
accessible writing style, Dr. Muller shows us how to best help treatment-resistant
clients trust the therapeutic relationship enough to be challenged toward making
concrete change.
We learn about the very common pitfalls of working with this population -such as colluding
with clients in their avoidance of painful feelings- as well as how to deal with these potential
pitfalls at each step of the therapeutic process.
This book is a tremendously rich resource for therapists at any stage of their career, as well as for anyone
wishing to have a deeper understanding of trauma, attachment, and psychotherapy -including instructors and supervisors.
With compassion and sensitivity, Dr. Muller illustrates the often difficult and puzzling process of successful therapy
with avoidant clients. As a clinician, I found this book to be inspirational and I give it my highest possible recommendation.
Mirisse Foroughe, Ph.D.
Clinical-Developmental Psychology
Summerville Family Health Team, Toronto

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How to effectively engage traumatized clients, who avoid attachment, closeness, and painful feelings.

A large segment of the therapy population consist of those who are in denial or retreat from their traumatic experiences. Here, drawing on attachment-based research, the author provides clinical techniques, specific intervention strategies, and practical advice for successfully addressing the often intractable issues of trauma.

Trauma and the Avoidant Client will enhancethe skills of all mental health practitioners and trauma workers, and will serve as a valuable, useful resource to facilitatechange and progress in psychotherapy.

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The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me Review

The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me
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As in his other books, Major Ian Thomas challenges us to go beyond the fire-insurance type of salvation into a deep abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. A relationship that acknowledges "I can't" but also embraces "Christ can".
Herein is the key, we cannot live the Christian life in the power of our own strength. God never asked us to. He always promised He would do it for us. Major Thomas will show you how.
A must read for every person seeking life abundant.

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"Christ in you, the hope of glory." —Colossians 1:27Why do we keep failing even in our best efforts to live the Christian life? Because no one other than Jesus Christ can live it, for the simple reason that He is the Christian life! And only He can live it in our lives as well. Major W. Ian Thomas takes a refreshing look at the pure thrill of living victoriously as you embrace the living Savior's presence within you. The more you become genuinely and relentlessly available to Christ, the more He can take over so that your Christian walk becomes vibrant and effective! This inspiring devotional, along with the application questions at the end of each reading, will help you focus consistently on Jesus Himself so you can serve and enjoy Him at an entirely new level and dimension. You can try to steer clear of sin. Avoid temptation. Refuse to steal, lie, or use drugs and alcohol. You can indeed try to be sinless. But that is still you. And you are still trying. Jesus Christ was not holy because He focused His efforts on avoiding sin. Instead, "He refused to allow there to be any possible explanation for the quality of His life but the Father, as God, dwelling in Him, as Man," writes Major W. Ian Thomas.So whom do you want dwelling in you? More of you? Or all of Christ?Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 Story Behind the BookMajor W. Ian Thomas was twelve years old when he accepted the Lord with a simple prayer. But by nineteen, "I had been reduced to spiritual exhaustion," he says, "with no hope or reason for going on." It was then that he discovered the life-transforming secret of the indwelling life of the living Lord Jesus Christ. God gave him a message through Galatians 2:20, where he learned to say, "Lord Jesus, I can't—You never said I could—but You can, and always said You would. That is all I need to know." Major Thomas came to understand it was Christ Himself living through him who would do His work. This is the message he has been passionately proclaiming all his life.

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Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility Review

Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
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Michael Hogan, National University of Ireland, Galway:
This review is based on my reading of all 4 of Ellen Langer's books, which I was inspired to read after meeting Ellen in Harvard recently.
Ellen Langer is one of the most vivacious women I have ever met. Upon arriving to meet her in Harvard's William James Hall, I was actually extremely ill, but mindlessly ignoring the symptoms. The painful and yet irrelevant swelling in my right leg and the weak and feverish state that led me to sleep through a very stimulating lecture by Daniel Dennett, was in fact a serious blood infection that would later result in my hospitalization. Little did I know that my conversation with Ellen Langer would be the thing that completely transformed my hospital experience from a potentially stressful, painful nuisance into a very interesting and rewarding experience. And notwithstanding the fact that I could hardly talk, in our short walk from Ellen's office to the Harvard clinic (where Ellen was going to get a cut in her hand seen to, the cause of which she transformed into a very interesting story) we designed three experiments and I experienced firsthand, in vivo, decades of research on social and developmental psychology, and on mindfulness, creativity and decision-making.
To understand the transformative power of Ellen Langer's perspective, and to better understand her creative action, I believe it is useful to experience firsthand her version of mindfulness -- the act of noticing new things -- which is actually very easy to practice, if for no other reason than it energizes and engages us and opens us to new possibilities. Further, it is useful to consider the way Langer applies her version of mindfulness to understanding of social psychology and developmental psychology phenomena, and science generally. Her thought, as laid out in her four books on mindfulness and in her many empirical papers, represents a veritable stream of understanding that liberates one from a constrained, passive, rigid view of reality, possibility, and human potential.
Noticing new things
Ellen and I both teach social psychology. A critical reading of social psychology reveals much to us about the conditions under which people impose rigid, stereotyped views upon themselves and other people, and the conditions under which behavior is a rigid function of contextual control [1]. What is often so startling to students who first discover social psychology research is just how rigid, stereotypical, and limited our worldviews and our behaviors often are. Nevertheless, every year, one or two students in my first year social psychology class approach with great excitement and tell me how inspired they are to discover all these human limitations so carefully catalogued by social psychologists. Awareness of the conditions shaping rigid, stereotyped thinking and action, they tell me, has actually liberated them. Some report feeling more open to experience, less rigid in their evaluation of self, other, and world. They report clearer perception, greater awareness of the subtle nuances of experience. They are noticing new things. They are energized and inspired. Some go a step further, extrapolating and anticipating the open field of possibilities: they report a transition from mindless acceptance of all that they know and feel and do, to mindful awareness of all that they can know and all that they can feel and can do. Their prior learning no longer dominates the way they interpret the present moment. The fullness of the present moment itself and the possibility space that opens by virtue of the fusion of present moment with the ineffable future moment infuse their field of action with a new radiance. All is new. The well-springs of creativity are open. Reality and potentiality comes flooding in.
Mindless reading of health-related information
Some students, I believe, remember the raw significance of their inspired insight as they progress to higher levels of ability and skill -- they remember to notice new things -- they remember mindfulness. It's a subtle change in thinking, says Langer, although not difficult to make once we realize how stuck we are in culture, language, and modes of thought that limit our potential. Social psychology education provides a wonderful opportunity to shed light upon mindfulness and mindlessness. Experimental social psychology is full of examples of the price people can pay for mindless learning, or mindless assimilation of their `culture'. Research by Chanowitz and Langer (1981), for example, demonstrates the negative consequences of mindless reading of medical information. They provided students with information booklets about a disorder called "chromosythosis", a condition that could lead to diminished hearing. Some of the students were told that 80% of the population had the disorder and they were asked to imagine how they might help themselves if they were diagnosed as having "chromosythosis". Another group was told that only 10% of the population had it, making the disease seem less relevant to them, and they were simply asked to read through the information booklets. All students were then tested to see if they had the disorder and all were told that, yes, they did indeed have it.
In the next phase of the experiment, participants were tested using a series of objective hearing tests. Those participants who were led to believe that the disorder was less relevant to them and who simply read through the information booklets, performed significantly worse on the hearing tests than the group who were led to believe that the disorder was potentially relevant to them and who also thought through the consequences of having the disorder. Langer describes this as one example of the negative effects of premature cognitive commitments. Specifically, when information is mindlessly received and accepted without critical question or creative `what if' deliberation, we run the risk of implicitly committing to a singular, rigid understanding of the information. When later we are faced with a situation where this `prior learning' is brought to bear on our action in context, we may find ourselves functionally constrained by the rigid understanding we have implicitly established. Mindless reading and mindless learning result in mindless reactivity.
Mindful Health and the power of possibility
Langer considers how mindfulness operates when people learn that they have cancer. Although science is learning that cancer can be a chronic condition or even fully treatable, most of us, says Langer, mindlessly assume that cancer is a "killer". Rather than being mindfully aware of our symptoms and the conditions associated with the presence and absence of symptoms at any given moment in time, rather than being mindfully aware of the variable nature of our interactions with medical professionals, friends, and family, or changes in the way we work and play, and so on, one possible outcome is that the trauma associated with the diagnosis of cancer leads us to identify fully with the label "cancer patient". As soon as we identify with the label, all the preconceived ideas we ascribe to the label come to control our behavior.
But this is only one possibility and not everyone responds in the same way when diagnosed with cancer. Langer refers to research by Sarit Golub (2004) conducted in Harvard. Golub found that while some people diagnosed with cancer add cancer to their identity, others let the diagnosis take over their identity, with the latter group faring less well on measures of recovery and psychological well-being.
Langer suggests that mindfulness makes us more optimistic because we are open and attentive to possibilities, and that this in turn facilitates recovery. Research does suggest a relationship between mindfulness and optimism [2], and between optimism and recovery from coronary artery bypass surgery [3]. Converse to the view that optimists have a rosy view of their future that invariably leads them to ignore their present circumstances, Langer believes that mindful optimists are likely to pay greater attention to their recovery than do pessimists, and in so doing they aid the recovery process and help anticipate complications.
Nevertheless, mindless optimism and mindless pessimism may lead people to invest more heavily in positive or negative systems of belief than in reality itself and the possibilities that reality presents [4]. Thus, mindful optimism is unique: optimal well-being, according to some, hinges on a capacity to open oneself to the subtleties and complexities of reality and thus inhibit cognitive commitments that pit belief against experience [5]. One belief that Langer asks us to be mindful of in this context is the belief that science trumps experience. If, for example, we blindly assume that medical science is simply better than our own experience in informing our judgment and action, we may be inclined to mindlessly hand over control of our health to the `experts' and thus ignore the subtle variation in our experience (e.g., our experience of symptoms) and contextual variables that impinge upon our experience. Again, by accepting some label attached to us in consultation with a doctor (e.g., "chronic pain patient") we may come to assume more stability in our condition than there is; we may hand over control of our condition to others, and thus negate the possibility space that opens to us when we are mindfully aware of our condition.
Mindful awareness of our state can enhance our ability to control our state. For example, Delizonna, Williams, and Langer (2009) demonstrated that, when compared with a group who were asked to measure...Read more›

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If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now, in Counterclockwise, she presents the answer: Opening our minds to what's possible, instead of presuming impossibility, can lead to better health–at any age. Drawing on landmark work in the field and her own body of colorful and highly original experiments–including the first detailed discussion of her "counterclockwise" study, in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and showed dramatic improvements in their hearing, memory, dexterity, appetite, and general well-being–Langer shows that the magic of rejuvenation and ongoing good health lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to social and cultural cues. Examining the hidden decisions and vocabulary that shape the medical world ("chronic" versus "acute," "cure" versus "remission"), the powerful physical effects of placebos, and the intricate but often defeatist ways we define our physical health, Langer challenges the idea that the limits we assume and impose on ourselves are real. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, in our language, and in our expectations, she tells us, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviors that sap health, optimism, and vitality from our lives. Improved vision, younger appearance, weight loss, and increased longevity are just four of the results that Langer has demonstrated.Immensely readable and riveting, Counterclockwise offers a transformative and bold new paradigm: the psychology of possibility. A hopeful and groundbreaking book by an author who has changed how people all over the world think and feel, Counterclockwise is sure to join Mindfulness as a standard source on new-century science and healing.

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Abounding Grace An Anthology Of Wisdom Review

Abounding Grace An Anthology Of Wisdom
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This is a powerful book. I loved it. I would also recommend An Encounter With A Prophet and Conversations with God. All three books helped me.

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