ABC Bookstore Online UK
For self help books; counselling psychology books; and great stories…
Subjects include: Anger management; couple relationships; conflict resolution; anxiety control and depression reduction; childhood trauma; lifestyle self-management (including diet and nutrition; physical exercise; sleep science; life balance; and philosophy of life); plus stress management and realistic resilience… Plus one novel and two volumes of riveting autobiography…
Do you want to be less angry, anxious and depressed; in a happy marriage or relationship; and doing meaningful work?
We have some helpful answers to your problems! Whether you are a self-help enthusiast, a counsellor, coach, psychotherapist, social worker, or general reader; we have some interesting books for you! Including three great stories…
According to Epictetus, “Only the educated are free”.
And our self-help books, counseling psychology books, and personal development books are designed to help you to educate yourself for a better life.
Self help and counselling related books in print
By Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne
Hello, Are you looking for relief from problems of excessive anger, anxiety or depression? If so, we can help. Several of our self help books can help you to get better control over your emotions. You could also learn how to have better relationships at home and/or in work, business or school, and to have a happier, more successful life.
The books described briefly on this page are a result of 40 years of personal research and questing by two dedicated followers of “the ways of the world” (or the Tao of Life).
What follows is a list of quick introductions to our twenty-two current books in print – plus eight other books which are due to be issued or reissued in the near future – interspersed with some nuggets of wisdom that we have learned over many years of reading and working on our personal and professional development plans. Further information about each of our books can be found by clicking on the ‘Learn More’ links for each book.
How to Write a New Life for Yourself:
Narrative therapy and the writing solution.
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!
Prices: £4.22 GBP (Kindle); or £13.27 (paperback)
The book that changed my life, by Jim Byrne
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!)
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)
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).
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.
How to Sleep Like a Baby – Every single night
Without drugs or alcohol
By Renata Taylor-Byrne
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!
My earliest experiences of reading books about sex and love,
By Jim Byrne
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!
How to reduce and control your depression:
The drug free way!
By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
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.***
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!”
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
Life 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!
The books that helped me to improve my emotional intelligence,
By Jim Byrne
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.
How to stop worrying and start problem-solving
By Dr Jim Byrne
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.***
Successful people read and write a lot, as a proven success strategy!
By Renata Taylor-Byrne
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!
How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression:
Using nutrition and physical activity.
By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne
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)
The six books that had the greatest impact on my approach to counselling and psychotherapy practice
By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
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.
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
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.
The book I give as a gift
By Renata Taylor-Byrne, June 2020
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. The ‘Artist 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.’
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!
What to Eat for Good Physical and Mental Health
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.
The book I wish I had written, by Jim Byrne
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.
Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards:
Better health, happiness and resilience
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.
Paperback: £14.99 (GBP)
Kindle eBook: £4.99 (GBP)
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
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.
The books that helped me to finally understand what determines the shape of couple relationships
By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, 30th June 2020
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.
How to Have a Wonderful, Loving Relationship:
Helpful insights for couples and lovers
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.***
The book that brings me the most comfort,
By Renata Taylor-Byrne
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!
>>>New book, coming soon…
My earliest book-reading memory, by Jim Byrne
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
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 like 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.
Holistic Counselling in Practice:
An introduction to the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy
By Jim Byrne – With Renata Taylor-Byrne
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)
Processing Client Stories in Counselling and Psychotherapy:
How to think about and analyze client narratives
Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
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.
Freud, Mammy and Me
The roots and branches of a simple country boy
Volume 1 of the fictionalized autobiography of Daniel O’Beeve
Author: Dr Jim Byrne. Book cover by Will Sutton.
Developmental trauma, arising out of prolonged childhood abuse or neglect, has a devastating effect on the body, brain and mind of its victims. Post-traumatic stress disorder has only been officially acknowledged since 1980, and Complex-PTSD has only been written about since about 1992, but not officially recognized until around 2018, when it was included in the European standard text on emotional disorders.
Most psychologists and psychotherapists, counsellors ans social workers have little or no understanding of the problems caused by complex trauma arising out of prolonged childhood abuse. This book is volume one of a two-volume autobiographical story – suitably fictionalized (to protect the innocent; to avoid being sued; and to make the story-telling tolerable for the author, by keeping the action at a suitable distance – slightly dissociated).
Beyond Marx and Melancholia:
An unbelievable odyssey through a psychological jungle
Volume 2 of the fictionalized autobiographical story of the life of Daniel O’Beeve
By Dr Jim Byrne
In Volume One of this fictionalized autobiographical story – which may be more truthful than a non-fictionalized autobiography – we explored the kind of traumatic developmental disruption which slowed the mental, physical and emotional maturation of Daniel.
We portrayed the kind of dysfunctional family and culture into which he was born – which is rarely exposed to the cleansing light of day.
And now, in this second volume, we set out to take you deeper into his odyssey, which takes him to strange countries and cities; into and through the lives of many individuals; including Marxist revolutionaries, Buddhists, Muslims, dope heads, depressive musicians, plus a disastrous marriage; and some helpful, loving women.
How much progress can he make in his life, given his seriously damaged childhood? Take a look. The journey is mind-blowing!
And his story is being told because it may be that more than 80% of all children have traumatic childhood experiences, and the road to a self-healing process is pointed to by the journey of Daniel from hell to … let’s see!
This volume is ‘Coming soon’!
The Relentless Flow of Fate
By Kurt Llama Byron
An Inspector Glasheen Mystery
For more about this story, please click the following link:
Paperback only at the moment, for £11.95 GBP
Anger, resentment and forgiveness:
How to get your inappropriate anger under reasonable control
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 wan 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.
Price: £14.75 from Amazon.
Who Are You, And Where Are You Going?
Transformative insights from psychology and the philosophy of psychotherapy
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!
The Emergent Social Individual:
Or how social experience shapes the human body-brain-mind
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).
Albert Ellis and the Unhappy Golfer:
A critique of the simplistic ABC model of REBT
By Dr Jim Byrne
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.
The Amoralism of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT):
The mishandling of self-acceptance and unfairness issues by Albert Ellis
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.
Discounting Our Bodies:
A brief, critical review of REBT’s flaws
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
How to Quickly Fix your Couple Relationship:
A brief DIY handbook for serious lovers
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.
For more information: Learn more
A counsellor reflects upon models of mind
Integrating the psychological models of Plato, Freud, Berne and Ellis
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.
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
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.
Recovery from Childhood Trauma:
How I healed my heart and mind – and how you can heal yourself
By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling
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.
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
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
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
# 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.