A qualified clinical counsellor and practicing hypnotherapist,
Deborah McKenna is more than qualified to present the resources in this book, which
she does with cheer and personality. However,
I do feel that perhaps readers should be advised before going in that it is
very faith-heavy – both faith in yourself and positive thinking overall, and of
course faith in God. The “clutter” she refers
to primarily bases this book on two premises: first, identifying and discarding
repressed negative feelings of the past, and second, putting a positive spin on
events and decisions in life now and going forward, without regaining or
amassing any more negative “clutter”. In
this respect then, you could argue that this self-help book is part psychoanalytical
and part cognitive, but the methods she puts forward are practical, resourceful,
varied and extremely useful – it is at these parts (perhaps in the latter third)
that The Cluttered Mind is at its best.
The tools and exercises are shared in abundance, making this hugely
worthwhile coffee-table book, while Deborah also goes on to evidence her
methods with examples of events in her own life and some of her clients’. This perhaps for me then is the reason it
feels somewhat undermined by the emphasis on God, which increases as it
proceeds. This is no real surprise;
self-help books by U.S. authors are wont to do this, but for an atheist reader it
will add little to the book. In fact, I would
even go as far as to say that readers of faith will invariably take more benefit
than those who aren’t.
But, I’ve no wish to portray it inaccurately, and I certainly
don’t mean to undermine the credit it deserves; Deborah is a professional and
this is a professional reference book.
It is well written, with a genuine sense of fun and light-heartedness,
and the author is endearing, putting a lot of her own character into the work, without
the stuffy airs and graces of academia she is rightfully qualified to present –
and I like this about her.
In : Book Reviews