ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 3, March 1999) -

The 60-Second Shrink

Arnold Lazarus and Clifford Lazarus
San Luis Obispo, California: Impact Publishers
ISBN: 1-886230-04-8
Paperbound: $12.95

A review by

Bob Farnsworth
Senior Library Technical Assistant
Serials Department
University of North Florida Library

        Have things been "getting to you" in the Library World these days? Are you in need of a friendly — but professional — bit of advice (realizing that a book is not a replacement for a visit to a professional when indicated)? Then perhaps you might want to consider reading The 60-Second Shrink by the Drs. Lazarus (father and son).

        Dr. Arnold Lazarus is an award winning professor of psychology, as well as a therapist. He has received a Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

        His son, Dr. Clifford Lazarus, is a licensed clinical and health psychologist who has a practice in psychotherapy. He joins his father in a weekly call-in radio talk show called "Mental Health Matters".

        This book presents many of the ideas that they have discussed on their show in response to questions from listeners.

        A brief synopsis of the chapters and ideas would include "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself". This chapter reminds us that we do (whether we admit it or not!) talk to ourselves more or less continuously. And we have to remember that "Just like statements that come from other people, our inner statements can affect us dramatically. Unfortunately, many people give themselves a hard time by talking to themselves in harsh and unkind ways…"

        However, for those who instantly wince at the thought of another "happy thinking" preacher, the doctors have a chapter called "The Dangers of Faulty Positive Thinking" in which they tell us "Realistic optimists do not talk about how wonderful things are, how terrific everything will turn out, when faced with genuinely bad or unfortunate events. In some circumstances change cannot be achieved, and it is acceptance, not optimism that will prevent depression or endless frustration." In other words, we should face the facts — then face the way we look at them, and decide how to adapt or resist.

        This is only one of many chapters that give practical "real world" ideas and advice. Included are sections on losing weight, dealing with stress, and communicating with colleagues and supervisors.

        Finally, the authors end with suggestions as to making a decision about therapy — and the best (and worst) types of therapists.

        Throughout the whole book, there is a spirit of understanding, a sense of humor, and a heavy dash of practicality. All in all, it’s like having an advisor available as needed.

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