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ABC Bookstore Online UK

For self help books; counselling psychology books; personal development books

Are you struggling with problems of anger management, anxiety (including Covid-19 induced anxiety), or depression about your life circumstances?

Or perhaps you are experiencing marriage or couple conflict? 

Or communication problems at home or in work; or problems with diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation?

Our books can help with all those problems, and more.

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“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses’, as a poet said. ‘erected in the sea of time’. They are companions, teachers, magicians, and bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print”.

Barbara Tuchman, (Quoted in, Walk with the Wise: An invitation to see life differently, by Tim Binder and Ron Owen, 2010)

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Updated on 18th September 2020

Dr Jim's officeBooks teach us how to extend our minds and our lives beyond those of our parents and our teachers: To grow and change. To become more interesting, creative, competent and successful, independent-minded, and rounded human beings.

Books are treasure troves of vital information about:

– How to live well;

– How to be happy, healthy, successful and wealthy;

– And how to change, grow and improve, personally and professionally.

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How to Write a New Life for Yourself: Narrative therapy and the writing solution

Kindle Cover WriteANewLife (2)By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and author of more than twenty books on counselling or self-help.

Writing is a powerful technology for intervening in your automatic patterns of behaviour, which are driven by your life-script. And your automatic patterns of behaviour shape your daily life!

This book contains more than 20 exercises to help you to get more of what you want out of your life. The author spent more than 25 years experimenting with writing therapy and reflective writing as forms of personal and professional development, problem solving, and creative solution generation; and he attributes much of his success in life to the benefits of that writing experience. This book is very popular with self-help enthusiasts, because it helps them to clear up problems from the past; to deal with their current difficulties; to be more creative; to complete their own therapy; and to build a better future for themselves. Now you can design the life you want. Write it down.  Make it happen!

Don’t delay!  Take action today! View a page of information about this book.

Or go to the book description on Amazon.co.uk

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“Living life can be a challenge. What path should I follow? How should I respond? What should I do? Many similar questions face us almost daily whether it is to do with our job, our relationships or life itself”. (Tim Binder and Ron Owen, 2010).

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Coming soon:

Relax Your Way to a Better Life:

Using Dr Jacobson’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique for physical and mental health

A, Front cover PMR BookBy Renata Taylor-Byrne, Lifestyle Coach-Counsellor

Physical tension is implicated in much physical illness and emotional misery. But what can you do about it?  Life is stressful, and people tense their bodies under pressure!

However, there is a system of physical de-tensing – relaxing – which can reduce your tension to levels which will eliminate pain, emotional misery and physical disease.

This book describes a non-medical process for improving your physical health and emotional well-being.   It is a tried and tested technique which was developed over a period of decades  It is well-researched, and the results have been written up in the scientific literature.We will guide you through the process of relaxing your body and mind, and restoring your health and happiness.

If you want to have a happier, healthier, more contented life, then please click this link: https://abc-bookstore.com/jacobsons-progressive-muscle-relaxation-book/

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Sophie Hannah credits a self-help book with changing her life!

The Power of Now‘It’s no exaggeration to say that The Power of Now (by Eckhart Tolle) changed my life. Like (a) Ferry Guru’s book (which had previously read), it was … a radical new way of looking at the world. Thanks to Tolle, I learned that I would be entirely mistaken if I were to judge, for example, my friend Zelda’s recent actions negatively and imagine I’m a better person than her. As Tolle puts it: “If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realisation comes forgiveness, compassion and peace”.’ (Sophie Hannah, in The Guardian, 18th September 2020).

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The Broken Chain Conundrum:

A very peculiar life story

Volume 1 of the life of Daniel O’Beeve

Front cover, Broken Chain, 1By Jim Byrne

The Broken Chain Conundrum refers to the problem of recovering from childhood trauma, which breaks the attachment link to the mother; which establishes an avoidant attachment style; which promotes a passive-withdrawing personality adaptation.

How can a boy become a successful young man; a sensitive, caring lover; a husband, when he has no idea – in his heart and guts – what love is; or what relationships is?

This fictionalized autobiography tracks the attempts of just such a young man – a damaged man – to try to find love in a world he does not understand.

For more information about this fictionalized autobiography, please go to The Broken Chain Conundrum…***

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How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression: Using nutrition and physical activity

Front cover design 3Emotions are not ‘all in the mind’. They are primarily in the body. So the health of your body greatly impacts the health of your brain and mind. This book will teach you the six most important toxic foods to avoid, which tend to disrupt your emotional functioning; and the best foods and supplements to take for your physical and mental health.  You will also learn about the exercise systems that contribute most to your health and happiness.

If you want a happy mind, you must build a healthy body!

View a page of information about this book.

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Or go to the book description on Amazon.co.uk

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How to Reduce and Control Your Anxiety Level: Using a whole body-brain-mind approach (Cutting through the Worry Knot!)

Front cover 2It has often been said that “Worry is a magical attempt to control something which cannot be controlled by worry”. This book will teach you nine ways to re-frame or re-think the threats and/or dangers that normally make you feel nervous and anxious. It also teaches a physical relaxation process that is second to none in calming your central nervous system. And it includes lots of helpful guidance on sleep, plus diet and exercise, to support the emergence of a calmer you.

View a page of information about this book.

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Or go to the book description on Amazon.co.uk

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“…when a child is physically abused by an emotionally damaged parent – by being slapped angrily – and then emotionally abused, by being shouted at, and frightened into some kind of submission or conformity to the parent’s unreasonable wishes – nobody calls the nurse[1]. A pain is felt by the child; or, rather, two pains.  The physical pain from the slap, and the emotional pain, of fear/shame/humiliation. No painkiller is administered. No ambulance is called. No x-ray is taken. No plaster-cast if fitted. Instead, a little trauma is stored in the child’s body-brain-mind. 

[1] An emotionally undamaged parent, a skilful parent, also has to discipline their children, but they do it in a way that means that whatever shaming of the child is unavoidable in a moment of emergency intervention, is then corrected by ‘rescuing the child from their shame’. (See Daniel Hill, 2015).

Dr Jim Byrne, Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach

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Some of the most successful people around today are in the habit of reading for between one and three hours every day.

Nata-Lifestyle-coach8According to one estimate, if you were to read informative books for one hour every single day, you would be in the top 5% of educated individuals by the end of three years! And you would have a much better grasp of who you are, and where you are trying to get to in life.

The books described on this website are highly valuable and informative. They were thoroughly researched, written and published by a happily married couple – who spend their days in joyful, self-directed work – and who each have more than 40 years’ experience of prioritizing the study of the most helpful research about:

– how to improve your body, brain and mind health;

– and how to be personally and professionally successful.


How to Have a Wonderful, Loving Relationship: Helpful insights for couples and lovers.

Kindle cover, How to LoveBy Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, who has 22 years experience of helping couples to improve their relationships

Your marriage or couple relationship does not have to be the miserable way it tends to be!  Couple relationships can be improved, by improving your understanding of love and relationship; by improving your communications skills; and by working on the perceptions and values that you inherited from your family of origin.

Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce, and one in three couples engages in physical violence.  This is the tip of the iceberg of a very unhappy state of affairs in marital relations today. This book will give you a unique understanding of love and relationship; and help you to get rid of many myths about relationships. It includes several case studies, to illustrate its teaching points; plus some very helpful teaching of communication strategies that will help you to improve your own relationship. Overall, it will show you in detail how to build a successful couple relationship.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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A Major Critique of REBT

Revealing the many errors in the foundations of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Front cover3 of reissued REBT bookBy Dr Jim Byrne

REBT was the original form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), created in the early 1950s by Dr Albert Ellis.

Albert Ellis was a damaged boy – seriously neglected by his mother and his father – and he consequently grew up to be an Extreme Stoic.  He thought it was necessary to learn how to put up with all kinds of hardships (without checking to see if they were avoidable!) And he believed we could cope with any adversity simply by changing our Beliefs about experience. (No need for governments to promote the public good. The public should just learn to put up or shut up [an preferably shut up]!)

His system of REBT therapy is based on a simplistic model of human experience which was created by a first century CE slave, who was also the son of a slave. This book shows the gross inadequacy of this simplistic ABC model for understanding the complex underpinnings of human performance in a challenging social world.

This revised edition also contains a reference to the research which shows that emotional pain and physical pain are both mediated and processed through significantly overlapping neural networks, which contradicts Dr Ellis’s claim that nobody could hurt you, except with a baseball bat.  Emotional pain hurts just as significantly as physical pain, and it’s not okay for therapists to ignore the emotional pain of their clients.

Virtually all of REBT is dismantled in this devastating critique.

What you stand to gain from studying this book is to be able to identify the middle way between wimping out in life, or staying in boiling water until you are cooked. Furthermore, it will help you to escape from the all-pervading clutches of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) behemoth, which has captured the heart of counselling and therapy and ‘manualized it’ into a heartless piece of client-blaming!

For more information about this book, please click this link.***

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Or take a look at the book description on Amazon.co.uk

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Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards:

Better health, happiness and resilience

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Front cover for websiteSome unfortunate individuals can’t sleep when they want to; and some unwise individuals won’t sleep when they could.

If you don’t manage your sleep well, you will damage your physical and mental health; and reduce your chances of having a happy life. Sleep deprivation will reduce your emotional intelligence, and, at its worst, can cause psychosis and dementia.

Renata Taylor-Byrne spent three years summarizing more than twenty years of sleep science research; from which she abstracted all you need to know about (1) the major sleep destroyers; (2) the negative effects of insufficient sleep upon your body and your emotional life; and (3) the top solutions for improving your sleep (which includes overcoming insomnia without the use of sleeping tablets or alcohol, neither of which works anyway!) And she ends with six key strategies for protecting your sleep.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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The limits of human flexibility in a cruel world

and how to protect, defend and strengthen yourself – (The Bamboo Paradox)

A, Front cover-2By Dr Jim Byrne

Ill-informed macho bravado is as questionable as spineless cowardice!

It is not a good idea to ‘chicken out’ too easily in the face of life’s challenges; but it is also not sensible to act like you are a machine, or a bamboo tree.

This book looks at the distinction between moderate (or sensible) stoicism (or endurance), and extreme (or unrealistic) stoicism; and teaches a system of moderate stoicism or realistic resilience; but it also warns the reader against being exploited by those who would try to persuade them that they have the capacity to ‘stand like a bamboo in a storm’.

This book teaches you how to avoid burning out under the unrealistic encouragement to over-work (in terms of time and effort) as if you had the physical qualities of a bamboo tree (which you don’t!). And, in any event, a bamboo tree does not have to cope with interpersonal stressors, or the kinds of economic and life-balance stressors that humans face all the time.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Front cover for website

“With the evidence from sleep scientists becoming increasingly available to the public, we now have a chance to see how lack of sleep ravages the body, and compromises the mind, in so many different ways. One good example is this research result: When research participants had their sleep restricted to four to five hours, for just one night, the natural killer cells in their immune system were reduced by 70%!  And there is a lot of research to show that lack of sleep makes us angrier, less happy, and prone to serious physical and mental diseases.

Renata Taylor-Byrne, Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards: Better health, happiness and resilience

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Jim.Nata.Couples.pg.jpg.w300h245 (1)The subjects addressed by Dr Jim Byrne’s and Renata Taylor-Byrne’s books include: Self-help and personal development. Self-management. Success strategies. Anger, anxiety and depression. Diet, exercise and sleep. Relaxation and meditation. Recovery from childhood trauma. Stress management. Building self-confidence. And the use of writing to transform your life (including self-directed writing therapy). Plus counselling and psychotherapy (especially emotive-cognitive embodied narrative therapy, and rational emotive behaviour therapy).

We are currently running a big bargain summer sale. All book prices are greatly reduced, for a short while – up to 70% off most of our prices.

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Anger, resentment and forgiveness:

How to get your anger under reasonable control

Front cover, anger2By Dr Jim Byrne, anger management specialist with more than twenty years’ experience of anger management coaching…

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Keep your expectations of other people in line with reality.  How realistic are your expectations of those people who ‘press your buttons’?

If you are not willing to forgive other people for their unavoidable transgressions (or leave the scene!) then you will be endlessly unhappy.

And if you refuse to forgive those people who trespass against you, one day, when you want their forgiveness, you won’t get it!

In this book you will find ten guiding principles for managing your anger, which are the distilled essence of moderate Buddhist and moderate Stoic philosophy, combined with modern psychology and neurobiology. There is also extensive teaching and insights into the importance of forgiveness of those people who do things that normally anger us (without volunteering to become their victim). Plus insights into the importance of diet, exercise and sleep for anger management. And a historical review of theories of emotional self-management.  The book is written in an easy-to-understand style, with realistic recommendations for action.

You will gain a new sense of self-mastery and an improved sense of self-respect; and you will be able to assertively ask for what you want without wrecking your relationships, at home and in work.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Front cover, Who are you

Who Are You, And Where Are You Going? Transformative insights from psychology and the philosophy of psychotherapy

This book explores the nature of human identity – your identity and mine – by first examining various models of the human mind, especially those developed by Dr Eric Berne and Dr Albert Ellis; plus Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein. We then move on to modern neuroscientific studies of human consciousness and self-identity; and then into Japanese Zen perspectives, and forward into modern psychology, including developmental psychology, and the relationship we each form with our mothers, who we internalize as our guiding conscience. We then move on to how to assess your personality, and how to change your life by changing your life script. This leads on to a consideration of a range of self-management aims and goals. Then we consider the nature of human emotions, and how to change your attitudes and habits; including your inner program for choosing a life partner.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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How to Control Your Stress Level

How to control your stress level, and have a happier life

Currently out of print.  Being reissued in amended, updated format soon.

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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 “Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”
Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Front cover 1

How to Resolve Conflict and Unhappiness: Peace and happiness during festive celebrations

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Front cover, DIY Couples, 2b

How to Quickly Fix your Couple Relationship: A brief DIY handbook for serious lovers

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Draft cover details

How to Reduce and Control Your Depression: The Drug free way!

(Coming soon)

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Kindle Cover WriteANewLife (2)“We can see how powerful writing is, as a form of therapy, by the following examples:

—A former soldier, who lives out of a shopping trolley, and survives by sleeping rough on the streets of San Francisco, heals his wartime traumas by writing in a journal for a period of months.  (Mulligan, 1997).

—A woman who is severely depressed, and stuck at home with a two-year-old child, cures her major depression by writing about previously denied emotional pain.  (Schiffman, 1972).

—A college lecturer processes the stresses and strains of working in an unreasonably intense and high pressure teaching situation, for decades, by digesting her daily experiences in her journal.”

Dr Jim Byrne, How to Write a New Life for Yourself: Narrative therapy and the writing solution

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COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY BOOKS FOR STUDENTS AND COUNSELLORS

Front cover, Lifestyle Counselling, 2020

Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person (Edition 2): How to incorporate nutritional insights, physical exercise and sleep coaching into talk therapy

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Cover of eBook,1

A counsellor reflects upon models of mind: Integrating the psychological models of Plato, Freud, Berne and Byrne

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Front cover Holistic Couns reissued

Holistic Counselling in Practice: An introduction to the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy

See a page of information about this book.

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Or view the book on Amazon.co.uk

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Front cover design 3“This present book came about because we wanted to consolidate our understanding of the part that nutrition and exercise play in the well-being of our coaching and counselling clients, so that we can help them as much as possible; and also to inform a wider audience of a range of helpful research studies. Our overall aim is to put an end to the false assumption that the body and mind are separate entities, which can be treated in isolation from each other (by medicine, on the one hand, and by psychotherapy on the other).

“Human beings are very complex; indeed the most complex entities in the known universe.  But that does not mean we cannot hope to come to understand ourselves better than we currently do.

“There are, for example, some identifiable factors which contribute to the makeup of human personality; and there is now a good deal of research which needs to be added to the psychological model of the human being. We can learn to better understand our body-brain-mind interactions with our social environments, and this can enable us to understand ourselves and our clients, and to help them, and ourselves, more effectively.”

Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne, How to control your anger, anxiety and depression: Using nutrition and physical activity

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Number One in our Top Twenty List of the best self help books of all time is this:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), by Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey

Covey emphasized the importance of being proactive; beginning with the end in mind; putting first things first; thinking win-win (instead of zero-sum, win-lose); to try to understand others before we seek to have them understand us; getting all your good habits working in synergy; and taking time to ‘sharpen the saw’ (or to rest and recuperate). You need to be clear what you are trying to achieve; and you need to work at creating good habits.

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BBC to trial new Saturday night talent show presented by comedian ...What I wish I’d known: By Rob Beckett, the British stand-up comedian and TV presenter

“No amount of success will make you happy. Working on yourself makes you happy”.

The Sunday Times Magazine, 23rd August 2020, page 58.

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How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression: Using nutrition and physical activity. By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne

Front cover design 3This self-help book teaches you which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, to keep your emotions within a reasonable, manageable range.   We also discuss the science of physical exercise for mental health; and recommend the best systems of exercise for that purpose. Paperback and eBook versions. Click this link to learn more.***

CBT cannot help you to manage your emotions, if your problems stem from too much junk food, insufficient nutrients, and/or lack of physical exercise. Find out how to manage your emotions by managing these two crucially important aspects of your daily lifestyle.Click this link to learn more.***

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“Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t… Books make sense of life.”

Julian Barnes, English novelist

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How to Greatly Improve Your Couple Relationship

A self-study manual for happy and successful relationships

By Dr Jim Byrne

Draft cover of New Expanded Quick Fix, How to Greatly ImproveThis is the second, revised and expanded version of this book.

Part 1 teaches you how to understand love and relationship, and how to communicate more effectively with your partner.

Part 2 gets you to sit down together to work on your love and relationship goals.

And Part 3 shows you how to change the model of relationship that you inherited in your family of origin, to make it more effective as a guide to action in your relationship today.

For more information about this newly updated, revised, expanded edition, published in the summer of 2020, please click this link: How to Greatly Improve Your Couple Relationship.***

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Self Help Books can change your life:

Extract from the Hebden Bridge Times:Adele | British singer-songwriter | Britannica

‘Adele has credited a self help book for her recent transformation – here’s what it’s about

By Rhona Shennan

‘Thursday, 20th August 2020

‘Adele has praised self help guru Glennon Doyle for helping her to “let go” during a difficult time in her life.‘Writing on Instagram, the award-winning singer explained how the book (entitled ‘Untamed’) completely transformed her outlook on life.’

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According to the Huffington Post: “Self-help books can be a very useful resource for people who are struggling or just generally seeking ways to improve their lives. And often, specific ones resonate with large audiences.

“If you’re searching for a new self-help book that other people have loved, we can lend a hand. The folks at GoodReads shared the most popular titles of 2019 with HuffPost, based on how the site’s 90 million members have rated them or whether they added them to their want-to-read shelves.”

The one that stood out for us is this: Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig: ‘Goodreads description: A follow-up to the bestselling memoir “Reasons to Stay Alive,” Haig takes a broader look into how modern society feeds our anxiety. He examines how social, commercial and technological “advancements” have created a world that can actually hinder our happiness.’

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Number Two in our Top Twenty List of the best self help books of all time is this:

Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (1995), by Daniel Goleman

Goleman, Emotional IntelligenceGoleman explains how, if we work at improving our emotional functioning, to make it more intelligent, we can greatly improve our lives. Our current emotional wiring is habit-based, and like any other habit, emotional responses can be good or bad; and they can be changed; but not easily. If we work at changing our emotional wiring, we can increase our control over our lives. Finally, to be really successful, you have to master your emotions.

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Insights into the value of books 1

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Coming soon!


How to reduce and control your depression:

The drug free way!

– By Dr Jim Byrne

Draft cover detailsDepression is not all in the mind. For a start, it is born into each of us, in the form of a perfectly natural ‘grief response’ to significant losses and/or failures.

Your family of origin teaches your how and when to be depressed; and your social-economic circumstances, and personal circumstances, determine when and how much you will become depressed.

Your philosophy of life is one of the mediating variables that impacts your feeling of depression; but so also are your diet, level of physical activity, quality and quantity of sleep, level of relaxation/tension, your experiences in your family of origin, you current relationships, and your socioeconomic circumstances.

This book will show you how to minimize your unnecessary or inappropriate depressive episodes.

For more information, please click this link.***

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How to Sleep Like a Baby, Every single night

Without drugs or alcohol

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Sleep like a baby, drft coverI spent three years digesting twenty years of sleep science, to produce my first major book on sleep – entitled ‘Safeguard Your Sleep’.

Now, in this new, slimmer volume, I focus down on the key points that you need to understand if you want to sleep tight, every night, like a happy baby!

Insomnia is a thing of the past; and the useless sleeping pills belong in the bin!

For more information, please click this link.***

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How to Write a New Life for Yourself:

Narrative therapy and the writing solution.

Writing Theapy book cover
Author: Dr Jim Byrne, (with Renata Taylor-Byrne).  Cover design by Charles Saul 

Does it often seem to you that your life simply is not working to your advantage?  Not producing a good balance of happiness and unhappiness? Too much pain, and not enough pleasure? Too much tension, and not enough relaxation?  Too much struggle, and not enough personal and professional success?

If you answered ‘yes’ to most of those questions, then you need to know this: If you continue to do what you have always done, then you will keep getting the same results, in terms of a life that doesn’t work for you!

We humans learn how to think and feel in our family of origins, and then we use those imperfect road-maps to guide us throughout our lives.  No wonder we often find ourselves in situations we strongly dislike. No wonder we often find we are living lives of quiet desperation.

This ‘how-to’ – (self help) – book contains more than twenty exercises to help you to redesign your road-map through life; and to get more of what you want from your life.

You will become clearer about your goals; and how to work towards them intelligently. You will become better at problem solving and decision making. You will learn how to write down your wishes and wants, and then watch as they materialize.  You emotions will become much calmer and you will feel happier.

Journal writing, and various forms of writing therapy, and reflective writing, are included, with specific exercises for specific purposes.

Why not write a new and better life for yourself?  Write it down and make it happen!

Sample LinkedIn reviews:

Bill Stoner: “As a therapist who uses journaling (or journal writing) in my practice, I’ve ordered the book. Nice website, seems like you have put a lot of time into it”.

Geraldine Clark: “Writing therapy is one of the best ways for getting out everything that a person feels they can’t tell anyone else. I’m a prime example: When I was (stuck) in my addiction (phase), I wrote a ‘goodbye letter’ (in my journal) to my drug of choice (habit).”  And it worked!

Don’t miss this chance to live the life you would love to live! Paperback and eBook versions, Click this link.

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Prices: £4.22 GBP (Kindle); or £13.27 (paperback)

Paperback and eBook versions.

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Click this link to learn more.***

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The book that changed my life, by Jim Byrne

Solve problems by taking responsibility for them

Many books have changed my life, at many stages of my life. Sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. The one that stands out in my mind today is a book that came into my life in 1977, when I was 30 years old, and living and working in Bangladesh.  My first marriage had ended badly, and I was still licking my wounds. Then, out of nowhere, this book was in my hands – secondhand, with no cover. The title, as I recall was this:

If There’s a Problem Here, I’m Responsible! 

That struck me as being a false statement, at that time.  I don’t think I’d ever taken responsibility for my life up to that point. I’d been a drifter; a passive pawn; a cork in the stream of life.  But the arguments in this book were so persuasive that I decided: “Okay, let me experiment with this idea, that if there’s a problem in my life, then I’m responsible. Not in the sense of having caused it – though sometimes I may have done – but just in the sense that (as I learned years later, from Werner Erhard: “Nobody’s coming on a f****** white charger”, so I have to take care of my own salvation!)  I worked with this idea for a period of months, and satisfied myself that, if I take responsibility for the problems in my life, I gain what I later learned is something called ‘agency’. I become the one who is steering the boat of my life, down the rapids of inevitably difficult rivers of life.  That changed my life for sure! That secondhand book! (I have not been able to find it by searching online. Perhaps it is now out of print!)

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Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching For the Whole Person (2):

Or how to incorporate nutritional insights, physical exercise and sleep coaching into talk therapy

Updated and expanded edition, 2020

By Dr Jim Byrne (With Renata Taylor-Byrne)

Front cover, Lifestyle Counselling, 2020

In this book, you will find a very clear, relatively brief, easy to read introduction to a novel approach to ‘counselling the whole person’. This emotive-cognitive approach does not restrict itself to mental processes.  We go beyond what the client is ‘telling themselves’, or ‘signalling themselves’; or what went wrong in their family of origin.

We also include how well they manage their body-brain-mind in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, and emotional self-management (including self-talk, or inner dialogue).

The most important, and novel, chapters in this book are as follows:

Chapter 4, which summarizes our research on the impact of diet/nutrition and physical exercise on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Chapter 5, which reviews the science of sleep hygiene, plus common sense insights, and presents a range of lifestyle changes to promote healthy sleep, and thus to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.

Chapter 9, which explains how to incorporate the learning from chapters 4 and 5 into any system of talk therapy or counselling.

Reissued in 2020: In this expanded and updated 2020 edition, we have included two appendices as follows:

– Appendix A: How to assess your clients’ lifestyle patterns and habits

– Appendix B: How to change your habits

Appendix A contains a lengthy assessment instrument which we give to all of our clients who sign up for our full lifestyle change process.

Appendix B contains two sections.  The first teaches a behavioural approach to habit change. The second teaches a habit substitution process.

We have also expanded and updated Chapter 6, (on how to reframe any experience in order to reduce emotional upsets).

For more information about the content of this book, please click this link.***

Paperback and eBook versions

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Dennis Waitley, choice and responsibility

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The book I wish I had written,

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

The book that I wish I had written (today) is

Mindset: The new psychology of success

Or: how we can learn to fulfill our potential

By Dr Carol Dweck.

Dweck argues that most of us have been persuaded (falsely) by our educational experiences in the past, to think the following garbage:

1. That intelligence is innate, and fixed. – 2. That some people are just innately more intelligent than others.    – 3. That you cannot change your intelligence level.      – 4. That ‘really intelligent’ people never make any mistakes in the process of studying new material.        – 5. That people who struggle to learn are ‘losers’ – and, the corollary – that people who we believe to be ‘winners’ never make any mistakes.

But there is no really good evidence for any of these historical prejudices  – and most of them have been shown to be false by Dr Carol Dweck and her research collaborators.

At the start of her book she describes going into a school to do research with children. She gave them puzzles, some of which were easy to solve, and some of which became increasingly hard for the children to solve. She wanted to see how the children would handle the challenge. She describes one child, a ten year old boy, who did the following:

“He pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips together and cried out, ’I love a challenge!’ ”

She then went on to describe another child who was sweating with the exertion of solving the puzzles, and who looked up at her and said, with a pleased expression on her face, and with authority in her voice:

You know, I was hoping this would be informative.”

Carol Dweck was fascinated by their reactions and thought to herself, “What’s wrong with them?”  She couldn’t believe that they enjoyed learning, and didn’t get discouraged when they made mistakes. She then went on to say:

“I, on the other hand, thought that human qualities were carved in stone. You were smart or you weren’t, and failure meant you weren’t. It was that simple. If you could arrange successes and avoid failures (at all costs) you could stay smart. Struggles, mistakes, and perseverance were just not part of the picture.”

So these children became her role models, and she created a theory based on what she found when she started investigating the attitudes of children towards learning. Her book is a fantastic contribution to the world! My admiration for what she has written is unbounded. I strongly recommend that you give the book a try – it could transform your life!

It could help you to increase your self-belief, and to develop more of your brain’s amazing potential.

~~~

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How to Sleep Like a Baby – Every single night

Without drugs or alcohol

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Sleep like a baby, drft cover

I spent three years digesting twenty years of sleep science, to produce my first major book on sleep – entitled ‘Safeguard Your Sleep’. Now, in this new, slimmer volume, I focus down on the key points that you need to understand if you want to sleep tight, every night, like a happy baby!

Insomnia is a thing of the past; and the useless sleeping pills belong in the bin!

For more information, please click this link.***

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My earliest experiences of reading books about sex and love,

By Jim Byrne

Shakespeare, Othello and The Rape of Lucrece

When I was fourteen years old, I bought the complete works of William Shakespeare in a single volume; and immediately read

Othello, the Moor of Venice,

which is a story about the destructive power of sexual jealousy. I then read The Rape of Lucrece, (or Lucretia) – one of Shakespeare’s prose poems, at the back of the book. This was a shocking insight into the destructive power of lust, and how rape devastates the lives of its victims and often their nearest and dearest. Then, when I was eighteen, I read a pulpy novel, titled Willa – (in 1964; now out of print!) – which did not help me to understand male-female relations, because Willa (the heroine) has a lover who has nothing going on above his trouser belt; the most significant action takes place under a blanket on the floor (invisible to the reader); and Willa betrays her lover with a Big Greek Hunk (suggesting the author was worried about his potency). Not good as sex or love education for a teenager. Then, as I left the flat of my own unfaithful lover, at the age of 22 years, I stumbled across

The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,

by Anne Koedt. This book helped me to understand the importance of the clitoris to a happy sex-love relationship with a woman. But I had to wait until I was forty years old before I discovered

The Art of Loving,

by Erich Fromm. The aggregation of all that reading, plus some important social experiences, helped me to conclude that men – in particular – should be taught at an early age, to always keep their sexual energy and their capacity to love, harnessed tightly to each other (when thinking about, or engaging in a romantic relationship); to never deploy or indulge sexual energy in isolation from a consenting partner of similar age; and never to allow sexual energy to colour fraternal love or other forms of non-erotic love.  This kind of sex education, in schools and at home, could protect many young men from becoming sex pests; or sexual ignoramuses; or seriously afflicted internet porn addicts!

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How to reduce and control your depression:

The drug free way!

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Draft cover details

Depression does not fall from the skies. Also, it is not caused by ‘bad brain chemicals’ or ‘talking to yourself’.

Depression is an innate emotion, in the form of a tendency to grieve the loss of important people, and things to which we are attached. As such, it is an important signal to us that something has or is being lost, and a chance to save it, whatever it might be.

Our innate tendency to grief losses (and failures) is then shaped by the values and attitudes of our parents, who teach us what to grieve, and how to grieve it.

Then, given that we live in a world of competitive pressures; of birth and death; of sickness and health; the opportunities to lose and fail will be all around us, and if we fail to learn how to handle those losses and failures, we will be endlessly depressed.

And taking pills and medicines will not change the situation for the better.  But in this book, we outline a set of lifestyle self-management skills which will keep your emotional responses to losses and failures within tolerable limits.  You will learn how to transcend the sense of helplessness, and to feel hopeful about your future prospects.

For more information, please click this link.***

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What books can do for us and why I love reading

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

“The library at Columbia University changed my whole life – I practically lived there. You can’t get enough of reading…you can learn so much. Read every day!”

Warren Buffett

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Nata-Lifestyle-coach8

If we want to understand and make sense of what is going on around us – the people; the amazing mysteries of life revealed by science; including knowledge about our own bodies and minds – then many of the answers are to be found in books.

Good quality books help us to develop self-mastery, inch by inch, so that we can grow in confidence and learn to solve our own problems – (and also to work out what isn’t our problem!)

I’ll give you an example of a problem I had which a book helped me to solve, in seconds:

In the 1980’s when I was overworking due to economic pressures (not sensible!) I developed precancerous cells and had to have surgery. I was very anxious and did not know how I would cope with surgery and slow recovery.

Then I came across a book by M. Scott Peck – an American psychiatrist – entitled

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

and I read his recommendation of: “Dedication to reality at all costs.” I realised that this was how I could handle the situation (of impending surgery and slow recovery); by facing up to what was happening, and what was going to happen, unflinchingly.  I also discovered Ainsley Mears’ book about using relaxation to handle pain, and that also helped.

These two pieces of advice – to stick with reality; and to go into the pain – were very strengthening, and helped to get me through the serious challenges of surgery and recovery.  So that’s one example of why, like Warren Buffett, I think books are invaluable and transformative.

And I have always enjoyed teaching this one to my students:

“Reading is to the brain what exercise is to the body”. Anon.

I hope you will always find the books you need, when you need them.

~~~


Cutting through the Worry Knot!

How to Reduce and Control Your Anxiety Level: Using a whole body-brain-mind approach

And without using drugs, alcohol or escapism!

By Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

Front cover 2Life is difficult, and many people experience that difficulty in their bodies and their minds, in the form of excessive tension, anxiety and/or panic.

This book shows you how to switch off most of the feelings of anxiety that bother you, and only keep those that are necessary to keep you alert to real dangers – the self-protective anxious response!

Anxiety is not a disease; not a mental illness. Anxiety is part of our normal, innate, mental signalling system which tells us what is happening to us, and what to do about it.  That is to say, it is part of our emotional wiring. Our emotional intelligence.

Trying to get rid of anxiety with drugs is like hanging two overcoats and a duvet over your burglar alarm when it goes off.  The burglar alarm is designed to give you helpful information, which you can then use to guide your action. Should you check to see if a burglar has got into your house? Or call the police? Or realize that you’d mismanaged your alarm system, and that you should therefore switch it off?

Once you understand anxiety correctly, it becomes as useful as a burglar alarm; and you can learn how to manage it correctly.

When you buy a burglar alarm, it comes with a little Instruction Book about how to set it; calibrate it; monitor it; reset it; and switch it on and off.

You should have got just such an Instruction Book about your anxiety alarm, from your parents, when you were very young – and some people did.  But if your alarm goes off at all times of day and night, in unhelpful ways, then I guess you were one of the unlucky ones who did not get your Instruction Book.  This book contains your Instruction Book, plus lots of other backup information, which will help to make you the master of your anxiety, instead of its quaking slave.

Don’t let your anxiety “burglar alarm” reduce your life to misery. Learn how to use it properly!

For more information about this book on anxiety, please click this link:

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Paperback copy:

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Kindle eBook copy:

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Insights into the value of books 2

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The books that helped me to improve my emotional intelligence,

By Jim Byrne

Emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, cover

Emotional intelligence is the ability to read your own emotions, and to manage them so they don’t go too high or too low; the ability to read the emotional state of another person; and the ability to communicate with another person about emotional issues.

If your parents and teachers did not help you to achieve a good level of emotional intelligence, you can correct that by reading a few good books on the subject.  I had very low emotional intelligence as a child, because of my family of origin; but I have more than caught up in recent years.

Some of the books that helped me to grow my emotional intelligence included:

‘Achieving Emotional Literacy’, by Claude Steiner;

‘Emotional Intelligence’, by Daniel Goleman;

‘The Emotional Hostage’, by Leslie Cameron-Bandler and Michael Lebeau;

and ‘The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace’, by Jack Kornfield.

By integrating ideas from each of those books, and applying my learning in social situations, I have become much better at responding to life situations with emotions that are appropriate and useful; being able to choose how to express my emotions; to use unpleasant emotions to come up with helpful behaviours and more pleasant emotions; and to prevent myself becoming overwhelmed or immobilized by emotions.  As a result, I am happier, and I am able to have happier relationships with significant others.

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How to stop worrying and start problem-solving

By Dr Jim Byrne

Worry book cover

Worry is a form of rumination, or endlessly mulling over a perceived or actual threat or danger, which is not present, and which may never be present.  Somebody famously said, ‘We are killed by the things we worry about, and most of them never happen!’

But how exactly are you supposed to get control over a worry habit, which may be your actual way of life?  Firstly, you need to understand the utter futility of protracted worry.  Worry which causes you to problem-solve is helpful; but worry which causes you to feel endlessly unhappy is really unhelpful and unhealthy.  It could damage your physical health and emotional wellbeing.

Somebody else famously said that, ‘Worry is a magical attempt to control something which cannot be controlled by worry!’

In this book, the author has assembled helpful ideas and strategies in four areas of importance, under these headings:

  • Don’t worry: The threat is not in the present moment!
  • How to manage your mind.
  • Nine different ways of looking at the difficulties that worry you, so that they shrink and become less of a problem!
  • And, finally, How to manage your anxiety by managing your lifestyle.

By the end of this book, you should be a master of your own mind, leaving no room for worrisome thoughts and apprehensions!

For more information about this book, please click this link.***

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Successful people read and write a lot, as a proven success strategy!

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Reading and writing for success and happiness

According to Warren Buffett, really successful people know themselves well, and listen to themselves. They get a strong understanding of the direction that they want their lives to take. And one of the strategies really successful people use is to write a daily account of what’s been on their mind from the previous day, in a journal or notebook. This allows them to revisit the accumulated memories, conflicts, upsets, of the previous day, and helps to resolve issues, including upcoming challenges; and it captures any creative ideas that they have. Daily writing helps them develop self-understanding. They notice if there are any unhelpful repeating patterns in their lives; any ways of living or working more effectively; and it helps them solve problems. They don’t drain their energy away on endless rumination about their problems, and that saves them a lot of energy.

Here is a quote from Julia Cameron (who recommends daily writing) about the effect of this daily process:

‘What you have been doing (with your daily writing) is wiping the mirror. Each day’s morning pages takes a swipe at the blur you have kept between you and your true self … the snowflake pattern of your soul is emerging.’

Developing this daily habit is a way of writing a new life for yourself – one that is created by you and not by your culture, your society, your peer group or by family pressure! To pursue this idea, please take a look at our book, How to Write a New Life for Yourself!

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How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression:

Using nutrition and physical activity.

By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne

Diet,exercise book cover

This book argues that talk therapy is insufficient on its own. Changing your philosophy of life will not control your emotions, unless you also attend to your diet and exercise needs.

It is now increasingly being argued, by cutting edge scientists, that the root cause of physical and mental health problems is inflammation in the body, especially in the guts.  The idea that a leaky gut gives rise to a leaky brain is increasingly being verified; and the causes of anxiety, depression and anger are very often to be found in the client’s diet; or their lack of physical exercise.  Of course, sometimes the main cause of human disturbance is that stress levels are too high; or coping resources are too low; or the individual has an unrealistic or unhelpful philosophy of life.  Or the individual did not get a good experience of how to manage their emotions in their family of origin.  But it is also true that sometimes, the main problem is lack of physical exercise, or sugary diet, or caffeine, or inflammation in the guts and brain.

This self-help book can be used by counsellors and self-help enthusiasts to learn about the bodily connections to mental health, via diet, nutrition and physical exercise…

Prices: from £3.10 (Kindle) to £9.93 GBP (paperback)

Paperback and eBook versions.

Click this link to learn more.***

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The six books that had the greatest impact on my approach to counselling and psychotherapy practice

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Boks for counsellors, psychotherapsits and psychologists

Every counsellor and psychotherapist is influenced by books, during their training; and many keep up the habit of reading thereafter. Books are a great form of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and must more cost-effective than training courses.

The six books that changed my approach to counselling and therapy the most were as follows:

Object Relations, by Lavinia Gomez;

Descartes’ Error, by Antonio Damasio;

The Road Less Travelled, by M. Scott Peck;

A Secure Base, by John Bowlby;

Forms of Feeling, by Robert Hobson; and:

I am a Strange Loop, by Douglas Hofstadter.

Because of these books in particular (probably backed up by another twenty or thirty books) I moved quickly from being a ‘rational therapist’ to being more of a holistic therapist: taking the whole of the client’s body-brain-mind into account; and focusing firstly on their emotions; then their lifestyle; and then their words and actions.

I believe this has made me a more humane counsellor, and a more whole human being.

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The Bamboo Paradox: The limits of human flexibility in a cruel world – and how to protect, defend and strengthen yourself

Finding the Golden Mean that leads to strength and viable flexibility, in order to be happy, healthy and realistically successful

A, Front cover-2

By Dr Jim Byrne. With contributed chapters by Renata Taylor-Byrne. The Institute for E-CENT Publications: 2020

Are human beings like bamboo?  Are we designed to withstand unlimited pressure, stress and strain? Is our destiny to be sacrificed on the altar of other-directed ‘flexible working arrangements’?

We live in a world in which there are dark forces that wish us to forget that we are fleshy bodies, with physical and mental needs; and physical and mental limitations; and to be willing to function like mere cogs in the wheels of somebody else’s financial or technological empire.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) has played into this narrative, and given it philosophical support, by promoting a form of Extreme Stoicism in the name of therapy and wisdom, which it patently is not. (General Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [CBT] also supports this agenda, but to a lesser degree, or in a less obvious way! And some forms of Extreme Buddhism also advocate ‘detachment’ from material concerns, such as the need for a balanced life!)

In this book, I review the research that we have done on the limits of human endurance, and the determinants of that endurance – as well as identifying a viable philosophy of life – which will help you to optimize your strength and flexibility, while at the same time taking care of your health and happiness.

If you want to take good care of yourself in the modern mad-market, you could benefit from studying this book. It will provide you with both a compass and a suit of armour which will support you with the challenges and battles you will inevitably face.

Click for more information.***

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Paperback copy: £14.99 GBP***

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Kindle eBook: £5.99 GBP.***

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The book I give as a gift

By Renata Taylor-Byrne, June 2020

The-Artists-Way

This is it: Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’. It is definitely not specifically for artists but for anyone who wants to rediscover or expand their creativity, or if we feel stuck (in our lives/jobs/relationships/ with writer’s block, etc.)

There are 2 techniques for releasing and unblocking your creativity:

1. ‘Morning pages’: it is a technique whereby you write three pages of longhand writing (in your own handwriting– not on the computer) every day, early in the morning.

Just write down anything and everything that is on your mind: (she calls it stream-of-consciousness writing). It helps you process all the stuff that goes round and round in your brain.

Every morning, just write 3 pages, stick them in an envelope or folder, and then write 3 more the following day. No-one is allowed to read your morning pages except you. And don’t read them yourself for the first 8 weeks or so.

2. TheArtist date’: This next technique is called the ‘Artist date’. Julia Cameron recommends that, for a couple of hours, once a week, you go out and spend time with yourself – alone. She gives some examples of where you could go: This could include: ‘A visit to a great junk store, a solo trip to the beach, to the pictures, to an aquarium or an art gallery etc.’

Nata-Lifestyle-coach8

She says: ‘Spending time in solitude with your artist child (part of you) is essential to self-nurturing. A long country walk, or bowling, or a visit to an ethnic neighbourhood to taste foreign sights and sounds – your artist might like these.’

She explains that, for us to be creative, we need to draw on our inner ‘well’, which is like a reservoir, or a well-stocked fish pond. If we don’t attend to our creativity and keep stocking this ‘well’ with new impressions, then we’ll have nothing to draw on.

I’d like to give this book to everybody!

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What to Eat for Good Physical and Mental Health

What to eat for good physical and mental health, 2020

By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne

Not all foods are equally good for us. Some foods suppress our immune system, and leave us open to physical disease invasions. Some foods damage our gut wall and cause inflammation throughout the body and brain, opening up the possibility not only of physical disease, but also all kinds of mental illness and emotional distress. Some foods promote obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

In this brief book, we review the six main foods that you need to avoid, and the most important guidelines we have been able to research and develop, over many years, for eating a diet which will sustain your body and help you to keep your mind happy and calm.

For more information, please click this link.***

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The book I wish I had written, by Jim Byrne

Road-less-travelled

The main book I’d like to have written is ‘The Road Less Travelled’, by M. Scott Peck. (Of course, there are many others!) This book begins with a reminder of the Buddha’s main insight: That life for a human being is difficult, and necessarily involves suffering, or frustration. Scott Peck also emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for your own life and actions; and he clarified the very important point that – once you have reached adulthood – love is to be found primarily in your own heart, and thus the practice of love, for yourself and others, is a practice of caring actively for yourself and others. He also emphasized the importance of controlling your appetites and deferring gratification, if you want to have a happy and successful life. And perhaps the most important principle in the whole book is this: Dedication to reality at all costs.  Avoid fantasy and escapism, and you will be happier and more productive.

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Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards:

Better health, happiness and resilience

Front cover, sleep book, Feb 2019
Many physical diseases are caused by inadequate sleep.  Much emotional misery is caused by the inability to get to sleep, or to stay asleep; and sleeping pills only make matters worse.  Donald Trump is a good example of what happens to the human brain-mind when a person tries to get by with inadequate sleep!  (He aims for just five hours per night!)

This book contains a detailed review of the science of sleep; what this tells us about the importance of sleep for a happy, successful life; and how to begin to manage your sleep cycles better, for a sense of delicious relaxation in your life.

Now you can begin to understand why you need sleep; how much you need; how to optimize your chances of getting a good night’s sleep; and what to do if you experience sleep disturbance. You will also learn how to defend your sleep against modern sleep-distractions.

This paperback and/or eBook explores the science of sleep, and how you can improve almost every aspect of your life; including how you feel and perform in the world.

If you (or somebody close to you) are having problems sleeping; or you wonder why you are gaining weight despite your attempts to diet; or your emotional intelligence keeps letting you down; now you can learn the links that exist between those problems, on the one hand, and your approach to sleep, on the other. And you can gain a new mastery over your sleep.

If you want to be healthy, happy and successful, you have to learn how to manage your sleep intelligently and effectively: Available, in paperback and Kindle eBook.

Learn more.***

Paperback: £14.99 (GBP)

Kindle eBook: £4.99 (GBP)

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Epictetus, progress takes time

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Motivate Yourself to Exercise:

Understand the links between exercise and mental health –

and learn how to reduce your depression, anxiety and anger problems

By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne

Motivate Yourself to Exercise, draft cover

We have spent years studying the links between physical exercise and mental health; and promoting our own emotional well-being by practicing daily physical exercise. We also teach some elements of our exercise systems to our counselling and coaching clients, and encourage them to engage in regular physical exercise to improve their physical and mental health, and to improve their creativity and impact in the world.

Many people lead sedentary lifestyles – sitting around passively consuming TV shows, and other forms of entertainment; and/or working at a desk or table for long periods of time, rarely standing up or moving around.

It is now well established, scientifically, that this kind of inactive lifestyle leads to both physical and mental health problems.

In this brief book, he set out to teach you about the effects of exercise on your brain and mind; with knock-on effects on your moods and emotions.  The scientific research results that we quote should be enough to motivate you to make a commitment to start some form of regular exercise – and we have some recommended approaches for you.

We also realize that you are a creature of habit, and so we include coaching on how to set about changing your habits from favouring inactivity to favouring health-giving physical activity.

For more information, please click this link.***

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The books that helped me to finally understand what determines the shape of couple relationships

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, 30th June 2020

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The body keeps the score, bessel van der kolk

I have read at least a dozen excellent books about couples therapy, love and relationships, over the past twenty-five years; and they helped me to help lots of couples to improve their relationships.

However, I was like a person who has completed a jigsaw puzzle, only to find three pieces missing from the final picture.

Then I found the first of those missing pieces in Anne Teachworth’s book, Why We Pick the Mates We Do: A step-by-step program to select a better partner or improve the relationship you’re already in.  Anne Teachworth argues that we develop a model of relationship by observing our parents’ relationship, and then we recreate that relationship with our own partner(s) when we grow to adulthood. That internal model (our ‘Inner Couple’ model) dictates the mates we choose, from non-conscious levels of mind.

The second jigsaw piece came from a book by Levine and Heller, which is entitled Attached: Identify your attachment style and find your perfect match.  This book, based on an understanding of our ‘attachment styles’ – which are either secure or insecure; and if they are insecure, they are either avoidant or clinging – argues that a mismatch of attachment styles is a painful kind of relationship to be in, because one partner wants to cling to the other, but the other partner feels the need to keep their distance.

The final piece of the jigsaw turned up in Bessel van der Kolk’s book, The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. This book convinced me that many of my clients are acting out the consequences of childhood trauma in their adult relationships, and that instead of couple’s therapy, they need trauma therapy.

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How to Have a Wonderful, Loving Relationship:

Helpful insights for couples and lovers

A, Front cover,1
Author: Jim Byrne (with Renata Taylor-Byrne). Cover design by Will Sutton

This book was originally published with the title, Top secrets for Building a Successful Relationship, in 2018.  It was subsequently reissued with a new title and minor changes in November 2019.

Are you unhappily married or coupled?

Is your relationship spoiled by poor communication; rows and conflict; or disengagement and lack of loving kindness?

Do you sometimes feel that you are just reliving your parents’ relationship? The unworkable, misery-inducing pattern that you witnessed in childhood?  If so, you are probably right. That is most often how relationships turn out, unless you wake up and begin to change your unconscious pattern of relating.

Most human beings long to be engaged in a loving relationship with another person who they like and admire, and who likes, admires, loves and respects them in turn.

But most people have no idea how to bring this about.

This book reviews the questions:

  • What is a relationship, and how can you create one that is successful and really powerful?
  • What is love, and how can I learn to be more loving?  And get more love back from my partner?
  • What are the most important secrets of highly effective communication for people in marriages and marriage-like relationships?

Find out how to reprogram yourself for a loving, joyful, peaceful relationship that enriches your life, instead of making you miserable and disappointed.  To find out some more about this process, please click this link.***

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The book that brings me the most comfort,

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living

The book that I will always have a copy of in my life is this: “How to stop worrying and start living” by Dale Carnegie. This is a collection of ‘successful recipes’ (for conquering worry) and he suggests, at the end of the preface, that we throw the book away if we don’t feel a ‘new power and new inspiration to stop worry and enjoy life’. (And I have never felt like throwing it away!)

He then goes on to present at least 59 ways of reducing worry! I don’t want to present all of them to you, but to give you an example of just one of the techniques: The first one, right at the start of the book, describes William Osler as a medical student who was very worried about passing his final exam, how he could build up a medical practice, and how to live. Then Osler came across a quote by Thomas Carlyle:

‘Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand’.

This is another way of saying: “Live in the present moment”.

And Carnegie uses the example, from Osler, of the way a ship is divided into watertight compartments, which stops it flooding and sinking.  He uses this to teach us to “live your life in day-tight compartments”, which again is a restatement of the Buddhist principle of “living in the present”.

Dale Carnegie’s book is stuffed full of the most moving and inspiring first-hand stories, by many people, of how they have handled the challenges they’ve faced, and the techniques they have developed.

Whenever I (Renata) feel fed up and confused, or realise that I have been worrying about the future (or the past) and wasting my energy, I grab Carnegie’s book and leaf through it, and it very quickly wakes me up to what I can do to feel better.

This book is much more valuable than a gem – and costs much less! It is comforting and reassuring, and shows you how to create a happier life for yourself in seconds. See what you think!

~~~

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>>>New book, coming soon…

My earliest book-reading memory, by Jim Byrne

Jim-portrait-001

There were no books in my home when I was growing up. If there was a local library, I was unaware of it.  And my primary school only carried simple reading-primers. Then, when I was about ten yours old, my father found a discarded copy of the hardback version of ‘Hazard and Heroism’, by G.A. Henty (1904), and brought it home and gave it to me. This was a book about ‘ideal Victorian heroes’, which integrated physical gallantry with a kind of spiritual awareness (or what I would have perceived to be ‘holiness’; and which I would now describe as an ethical and principled life).  If this gift from my father was intended to make me braver than I was – (and I was actually a physical coward!) – then that was a real paradox, coming as it did from the man (my father) who had done more than any other (apart from my mother) to break my spirit, with his unpredictable and explosive verbal and physical violence. I cannot recall if it changed me to any significant degree – (it certainly did not make me physically brave) – but I suspect it gave me a kind of psychological strength to get through a very difficult, traumatized childhood. (Henty is identified with this perspective: “There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution and pluck”.) It certainly would have given me ‘a window of mental escape’ from my sense of captivity in a cross between a mad house and a very dutiful orphanage!

~~~


How to Resolve Conflict and Unhappiness: Especially during Festive Celebrations:

Coping with and resolving frustrations, disappointments and interpersonal clashes at family celebrations like Christmas, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Eid, and Thanksgiving

Front cover 1

Dr Jim Byrne (With Renata Taylor-Byrne)

Conflict can happen in families at any time of year.  (and the Coronavirus lock-down, and related financial problems, makes this a particularly likely occurrence!)

(Under normal circumstances) It just so happens that the first Monday after the Christmas & New Year annual holidays is called ‘Divorce Day’, because that is when the highest number of divorce petitions is issued. And it seems most likely that the other major family holiday times are the runners up in the divorce stakes.  However, what is hidden under these divorce statistics is the mountain of personal and social misery that precedes such drastic ‘solutions’ to repeated conflict, disappointments and interpersonal clashes.

But there is a better way to deal with these problems. Rather than letting the misery build up over time, you can take control of both your own mind, and the way you communicate within your family and society.  You can insulate your social relationships from constant or repeated misery and unhappiness; and learn to have a wonderful life with your family and friends.

The solutions have been assembled by Dr Jim Byrne (with Renata Taylor-Byrne) in this book about how to re-think/re-feel/re-frame your encounters with your significant others; how to communicate so they will listen to you; how to listen so they can communicate with you; and how to manage your lifestyle for optimum peace, happiness and success in all your relationships – but especially at home.

Master the skills of conflict resolution and effective communication.

Don’t let your relationships deteriorate. Get the solution today. Click this link for more information.***

~~~

The book that changed my life

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Without doubt, the book that changed my life the most was Eric Berne’s

Games people Play: The psychology of human relationships’.

Eric Berne was a Canadian psychiatrist who created a model of what human beings are like, based on his observations of thousands of GI’s whom he had to interview for their suitability for returning to work in civilian life at the end of the Second World War. His system is called Transactional Analysis (or TA for short).

According to Berne, we each have three major sub-divisions to our personalities: The ‘Child’ Part, when we are playful and creative; the ‘Parent’ part, when we are nurturing or responsible/controlling; and the ’Adult’ part, which does the logical and reasoning about the here and now.

He also analyzed the way people ‘structure their social time’, by engaging in rituals, and/or pastimes, and/or games. Psychological ‘Games’ are the nastiest form of social interaction, in which there is normally a Victim, a Persecutor and a Rescuer; and the interaction involves a hook (into the game); a switch (in roles); and a payoff (which means somebody gets stung, at a psychological level).

I immediately found that, using Bern’s personality model helped me to see what was going on in social interactions. This new awareness strengthened the ‘Adult’ part of my personality.

It helped me to avoid going into ‘Adapted Child’ state with people who wanted to bully or dominate me; or to ‘sting’ me. It helped me to avoid going into ‘Controlling Parent’ state with others, when this was inappropriate. And it helped me to be much more ‘Adult’, by asking for what I want, and saying ‘No’ to what I do not want.

Eric Berne’s book is not just a fascinating read. His model of human personality also helps us to grow up; to strengthen our integrity; and (in a civilized, orderly way) to make us strong enough in ourselves to block attempts by others to take us over, and mould us to their will.

~~~

Joan Didion, self-respect and responsibility

Holistic Counselling in Practice:

An introduction to the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy

By Jim Byrne – With Renata Taylor-Byrne

front cover holistic couns reissued

What does counselling look like when a counsellor ‘adds back the body’ to their model of what a counselling client is?  Especially is that counsellor also places emotion at the foundation of the individual, and understands all forms of ‘mental processing of daily life’ as habit-based-socialized-perceiving-feeling-thinking?

This book was the original introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT), which was created by Dr Jim Byrne in the period 2009-2014, building upon earlier work from 2003-2007.  It is of historic importance, but it has been superseded (by being expanded and updated) by Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person, which is introduced above.

Prices from: £5.83p GBP (Kindle) and £15.18p (Paperback)

Paperback and eBook versions

Learn more by clicking this link.***

~~~


Processing Client Stories in Counselling and Psychotherapy:

How to think about and analyze client narratives

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Cover of eBook

Of all the systems of counselling and therapy, the main ones that pay attention to the body of the client include Gestalt Therapy, and my own system of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (or E-CENT for short).

In E-CENT counselling, when a client arrives to see us, we see a body-brain-mind-environment-whole entering our room.  We agree that this person will begin by telling us a story about their current difficulties; but we recognize that this story is affected, for better or worse, by the quality and duration of their recent sleep patterns; their diet (including caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods, and trans-fats in junk food); and whether or not they do regular physical exercise; and other bodily factors.

However, in this book, we will mainly focus upon the client’s story or narrative; and perhaps remind ourselves occasionally that this story is being told by a physical body-brain-mind which is dependent for optimal functioning upon such factors as diet, exercise, sleep, and so on. We will focus upon the question of the status of autobiographical narratives; and how to analyze the stories our clients tell us.

Available as an eBook only.***

Click this link to learn more about this book.***

~~~


>>> New book about O’Beeve…



The Relentless Flow of Fate

By Kurt Llama Byron

An Inspector Glasheen Mystery

Front KDP Cover, paperbackC4
Cover design by Will Sutton

1960 was  a good year for crime in the city. Street robberies were down; family violence was stable; and there hadn’t been a single murder between New Year’s Day and the end of August.  Then, in September, a worrying spate of murders broke out across the city, over a few days. Public panic set in.  Old certainties were shaken. What was the pattern to this set of murders?

Byron’s novel introduces the enigmatic Detective Inspector Glasheen, in his forty-eighth year of life, and his twenty-first year as a detective in the Gardai, in Dublin City.

A series of murders awaits him at his new posting.  And one in particular, the death of a sixteen year old youth, in his bed, at home, in a working-class suburb of the city, is destined to bring up Glasheen’s own demons, from a very disturbed childhood in Arizona. The grief-driven war-dances of Sitting Bull’s descendants throb just below the surface of this Irish-Indian story; the drumbeats of another time and another place threatening to drown out the outcry of Dubliners about murder and mayhem in their midst.

For more about this story, please click the following link:

The Relentless Flow of Fate.***

Learn more.***
~~~

Paperback only at the moment, for £11.95 GBP

~~~


Anger, resentment and forgiveness:

How to get your inappropriate anger under reasonable control

Front cover, anger2

By Dr Jim Byrne

This self-help book is based on twenty years’ experience by the author of providing anger management counselling and coaching to hundreds of individuals.

If you want to stop wrecking your relationships, at home and in work, than this book is a must read.

It is based on a review of some of the most potent techniques and strategies for controlling your temper that were invented by thoughtful philosophers around the world and across the centuries.

PAPERBACK BOOK ON VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVELY CONTROLLING YOUR ANGER…

It will give you mastery over you emotions, and the ability to forgive those who transgress against you, without being too passive.

Learn more

Paperback only at the moment

Price: £14.75 from Amazon.

~~~


Who Are You, And Where Are You Going?

Transformative insights from psychology and the philosophy of psychotherapy

Front cover, Who are you

By Dr Jim Byrne
With Renata Taylor-Byrne

Most people lead lives of quiet desperation.  They don’t know who are what they are.  They also don’t know what is driving their actions in the world.

Most people skip the challenge of becoming conscious about who and what they are; where they are located in time/history; and what is possible for such an actor in terms of future directions for a viable/enjoyable life.

Most people spend the whole of their life living as largely non-conscious victims of a script they wrote for themselves, with the aid of their parents, when they were less than seven years old, when they hadn’t got enough sense to write a really good outcome for themselves.

This book teaches you who and what you are; and in particular, it helps you to come to know your own personality, and your life script.  It shows you how to change your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, including your relationship behaviours, in order to produce a better future for yourself.  Change your destiny!

Paperback book, £14.95.

Ebook version $US 3.99.***

For more information.***

~~~


The Emergent Social Individual:

Or how social experience shapes the human body-brain-mind

Kindle Cover1

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2009-2019

The E-CENT perspective sees the relationship of mother-baby as a dialectical (or interactional) one of mutual influence, in which the baby is ‘colonized’ by the mother/carer, and enrolled over time into the mother/carer’s culture, including language and beliefs, scripts, stories, etc.  This dialectic is one between the innate urges of the baby and the cultural and innate and culturally shaped behaviours of the mother.  The overlap between mother and baby gives rise to the ‘ego space’ in which the identity and habits of the baby take shape.  And in that ego space, a self-identity appears as an emergent phenomenon, based on our felt sense of being a body (the core self) and also on our conscious and non-conscious stories about who we are and where we have been, who has related to us, and how: (the autobiographical self).

Learn more about this book.***

E-Book version only available at the moment.***

~~~


Albert Ellis and the Unhappy Golfer:

A critique of the simplistic ABC model of REBT

By Dr Jim Byrne

~~~

Front cover, Ellis and the Golfer3
Cover design by Will Sutton

This is a book of reflections upon a case study, presented by Dr Ellis in his 1962 book about the theory of Rational Therapy.

The ‘unhappy golfer’ is in Dr Albert Ellis’s office, in New York City, somewhere around the end of the 1950’s.  He tells Dr Ellis that he feels terribly unhappy about being rejected by his golfing peers, and Dr Ellis tells him: This is something you are doing to yourself!

Ellis uses the unhappy golfer to introduce his readers to his simple ABC model of Rational (REB) Therapy, which claims – in those places that matter most – that a person cannot be upset emotionally in any way other than by their own beliefs!

This book sets out to refute this simplistic idea.

For more.***

Albert Ellis and the Unhappy Golfer.***

~~~


The Amoralism of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT):

The mishandling of self-acceptance and unfairness issues by Albert Ellis

Front cover of paperback1
Cover design by Will Sutton

By Dr Jim Byrne

This book is an extensive, detailed critique of two of the central ideas of REBT:

(1) The concept of ‘unconditional self-acceptance’; and

(2) The idea that life is fundamentally unfair, and that it should be accepted as such, and never complained about.

In the process we also deal with Albert Ellis’s idea that people should never be blamed for anything; that praise and blame are bad; that guilt and shame are to be eliminated, and never taken to be indicators that we’ve done something wrong. Along the way we have a debate with Dr Michael Edelstein about the role of fairness in couple relationships.

Learn more.***

The Amoralizm of REBT.***

~~~


Discounting Our Bodies:

A brief, critical review of REBT’s flaws

Front cover, Discounting our bodies

By Dr Jim Byrne

This book is a brief, summary critique of the main errors contained in the foundations of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) theory. And especially the invalidity of the ABC model, which asserts that nothing other than beliefs intervenes between a negative experience and an emotional-behavioural reaction. (The body is ignored, even though we know that diet, exercise and sleep patterns all affect our emotional state and our emotional resilience!)

If you want to know the essence of our critique of REBT, but you don’t want to have to read 500+ pages, then this 150 page summary should appeal to you.

Paperback only (at the moment). Price £9.50 GBP

Learn more.***

Discounting our Bodies.***

~~~


How to Quickly Fix your Couple Relationship:

A brief DIY handbook for serious lovers

Front cover, DIY Couples, 2
Cover design by Will Sutton

By Dr Jim Byrne

This self-help book has been specially designed to provide some quick relief up front, for couples in trouble. That means that, right at the start of the book, I share with you some of the most powerful insights into how to have a happy relationships. I then help you to complete a couple of exercises that take five minutes per day, and which will begin to change your relationship situation almost at once.

A SELF-HELP BOOK THAT PUTS YOU IN THE DRIVING SEAT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP, AND QUICKLY AND SECURELY ON THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS IN YOUR LOVE AFFAIRS…

Your approach to relationship will be transformed, with huge benefits to your health and happiness.

Kindle: £5.02

Paperback: £12.10

For more information: Learn more

Available in paperback and Kindle eBook formats.

~~~


A counsellor reflects upon models of mind

Integrating the psychological models of Plato, Freud, Berne and Ellis

Front cover
Cover design by Will Sutton

By Dr Jim Byrne

Prices from: £5.99 (Kindle) and £14.99 GBP (Paperback)

This book explores some significant ways of thinking about the nature of the human brain-mind. Every counsellor needs to think long and hard about their perceptions of their clients.  Are they based on ‘common sense’, or have they been subjected to the discipline of considering the theories of great minds that preceded us, like Plato, Freud, Berne and Ellis. (Ellis, of course, oversimplified the SOR model of mind into the simple ABC model, but he is still important because of his impact on the whole CBT theory, which currently dominates the field of counselling and therapy in the US, UK and elsewhere).  The author provides a stimulating review of several theories of mind.

Paperback and eBook versions available

Learn more.***

~~~


Coming soon, in June/July 2020

How to be a Successful Husband:

Essential knowledge and skills for men in relationships

By Jim Byrne, with Renata Taylor-Byrne, 2020

Front cover, 1B

This book is designed to help younger men to have happier, more successful marriages, or marriage-like relationships, which will, in turn, positively impact every aspect of their lives, including their physical and mental health.  Every young man, starting out on the road towards finding or creating a committed sex-love relationship, needs the kind of advice and guidance contained in this book.

Any man who believes he can achieve personal success – however that is defined – by getting the support of a subordinated woman, is self-delusional. If he tries this approach, his success will be superficial; and it will not last long.

It is also now well known that very many physically sick men are likely to have a conflicted relationship with a wife or partner driving their illness.  Unhappy relationships make us sick, physically and mentally.

By contrast, happy relationships make life worth living; improve our immune functioning; and bring sunshine to our otherwise difficult lives.

This book consists of a course of self-study, designed to teach younger men some of the basic knowledge and skills they need in order to be successful husbands to equally successful and happy wives.

…For more information, click this link.***

~~~


Recovery from Childhood Trauma:

How I healed my heart and mind – and how you can heal yourself

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Front cover,1

Many people struggle with emotional distress, just below the level of conscious awareness, which mars their life chances, and limits their capacity for happy relationships. Much of this distress could and should be classified as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); or emotional distress which follows on from a traumatic experience, which is too stressful (at the time of occurrence) to be processed into a coherent story.  And even more should be defined as Complex-PTSD, arising out of protracted child abuse in early childhood.

The author describes the main traumatic experiences that occurred in his childhood, which hung like a dark cloud over his emotional and relational life, up to the age of almost forty years or so.  He also describes the various therapeutic processes that he used to try to process his undigested childhood pain.  Chief among those strategies were the writing of his Story of Origins and his Story of Relationship, both of which are reproduced in this book, along with analysis and commentary. He also includes guidelines for the reader to do their own writing therapy on their own childhood trauma, which will greatly improve the quality of their emotional and relational lives.  And he emphasizes the importance of exercise and other body-based healing approaches. His hope is that the reader will use this book to become happier and healthier, and more at ease in their own skin; with a better prospect of moving forward into a more enjoyable future life.

For more information, please click this link.***

~~~


New book, coming soon:

Transforming Traumatic Dragons:

How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Revised, expanded and updated: June 2020

Front cover Dragons Trauma book June 2020

From Ancient Athens to Vietnam and Zambia, individual lives have been ruined by stress, strain, abuse and neglect. Madness, serious unhappiness and unworkable lives were most often the result.

Many common problems with physical and mental health are a result of childhood trauma, and/or being an adult who is abused by another adult.

Early childhood trauma (like physical and emotional abuse, and neglect), and other forms of prolonged trauma (like domestic abuse), affect the very structure of the human brain, and the behaviour of stress hormones in the body.

But the good news is this: It is possible to recover from all forms of trauma, given the right kind of approach. And this book offers you just such an approach to self-healing.

Dr Byrne discusses the following topics: What is trauma?  What is post-traumatic stress disorder?  What is Complex-PTSD?  How widespread is Complex-PTSD?  What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?  What are some solutions to Childhood Developmental Trauma or Complex-PTSD? The meaning and importance of the concept of Traumatic Dragons.

This book contains a comprehensive self-therapy program, to help you to heal your own traumatic wounds, from prolonged childhood abuse or neglect, or other forms of prolonged traumatic experiences.

If you are suffering from the aftermath of prolonged traumatic experiences, this book will be a great help to you. If you work slowly and methodologically through the program of self-healing, described in this book, you will gain by the calming down of your body, brain and mind; and the emergence of a sense of happiness and inner peace.

For more information, please click this link: Transforming Traumatic Dragons

~~~


How to eliminate low back pain and hip pain, and cure your arthritis

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Advert for book, mock cover

This emerging book by Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, is about how he cured his own back pain and hip pain.  He wants to share that almost miraculous cure – of conditions which are currently said to be incurable by conventional medicine – with those myriad people out there who are in daily pain, despite taking painkillers, having surgery or being given steroid injections.

Dr Byrne has recently healed his hips of arthritis, despite being told by a chiropractor that arthritis is incurable, and that he would have to have hip operations sooner rather than later.  He has also healed his own low back pain; and sciatic fibrillations in the back of his upper legs.

Now he is writing up his healing journey in a book that will be helpful to millions of pain-sufferers all over the world.

For a page of information about this book, please click this link: How to cure your own back pain and hip pain.***

~~~

More about our books

natajim-coaching-counselling

The series of books described on this page has been designed to be helpful to almost any reader; including:

# individuals looking for solutions to current emotional, behavioural or relationship problems;

# self-help enthusiasts and counselling clients;

# plus professional helpers, like counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, coaches, social workers, educators; and students of those disciplines.

~~~

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