by Judith P. Siegel
New Harbinger Publications, 2010
Review by Sandra L. Ceren, Ph.D. on Feb 15th 2011
Dr. Siegel has written a sensitive, compassionate, reassuring self-help book, packed with helpful, interesting information about the mind-body connection. Her work is enlivened by case examples, and thought and emotion provoking assignments that readers may find constructive.
Siegel views overreaction as an experience that involves mind and body, the past and the present. She explains how the combination of beliefs, emotions and physiological responses create over-reaction.
She examines the role of envy, criticism and control in triggering overreaction, and reviews various strategies that help restore calm. These strategies are well accepted, easy to learn, and are frequently used to allay anxiety--such as is triggered prior to an over-reactive episode.
However, those who can most profit from this informative book must first be willing to recognize that they do indeed overreact.
This reviewer has found from long experience that most over-reactors have fragile egos causing them to rationalize and justify their reactions. They often have difficulty accepting that their responses are a problem for them and for those with whom they are involved. Perhaps taking this into account, Dr. Siegel does an excellent job in omitting “guilt” from any of the passages and does not point any fingers. She understands that it takes courage to look inside oneself and at one’s responses, and to learn how and why they came to be--and how to modify them--a Herculean, but worthy task.
Readers are instructed in how to control their reactions by first understanding the elements that gave birth to their responses. They must also be motivated and willing to learn about the physical and emotional process that causes their reactions and how the deeply imbedded memories of past experiences influence their response to stressful situations.
Over-reactors must be willing to utilize the thoughtful assignments at the end of each chapter and must exercise patience in their endeavors as self-help-- much like professional psychotherapy takes time.
Case examples enliven and enrich the book and demonstrate that there is hope, that people can and do change the ways in which they respond to personal and professional situations.
Although this book is targeted to over-reactive individuals, it has the potential to be utilized effectively by therapists treating such clients, especially if they were to employ the insightful –in-depth, beneficial assignments provided at the end of each chapter.
© 2011 Sandra L. Ceren
Sandra L. Ceren, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Diplomate, American Board of Family Psychology, Fellow, Academy of Family Psychology, Author Essentials of Premarital Counseling