2 out of 4 stars
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Happy Healing by Dominique Bourlet is a non-fiction self-help book aimed at helping people understand and then address their pain. Though the author mentions and discusses the physical and mental aspects of pain, the focus is on the emotional outlook people have towards their pain. The method that the author claims is called “Happy Healing.” The method involves the evolution of the patients thoughts and feelings towards their pain and the body part experiencing it. He developed this method with his experiences of Asian therapy practices and as a horse whisperer. The method is detailed with a step by step guideline. This seems extremely attractive to a potential reader.
I found the book very frustrating to read because his method is essentially a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, commonly known as CBT. It is not really that new. What is worse, is that the book was published in 2017, thus the knowledge about cognitive and emotive principles to pain are already available to add value and depth to this concept. Secondly, I found there were many points that he made that lacked insight, insight that could’ve been gained had he done some more scientific research. There are physical, cognitive, and emotive aspects to pain, as he mentions, but there were gaps that could have been explained by scientific findings. These findings would not have nullified his approach but rather enhanced it by adding more detail and reasoning to his findings. Furthermore, it would have encouraged more trust and reliability towards his valid work.
With regards to the layout and pleasure of reading, I found the book haphazard, as if he were running in circles. The presentation of a step by step guideline that was broken down into phases was really appealing to me before reading the book, however it ended up being confusing for me and I don’t feel that I now have a structured plan to help me with my pain. This may be because of editing or it may be because my mind kept drifting off. The writing was not grasping to me.
Regretfully, I am hesitant to recommend this book because I fear that some people would base their entire wellbeing on this book, which could be dangerous, when considering community health. For example, the author underplays high blood pressure, saying “it is not a disease”. High blood pressure leads to stroke! Furthermore, the book does not encourage medical, natural or pharmacological, and rehabilitative treatment enough. While I agree that this method is valid, I feel that it somewhat negates other forms of treatment, which could be critical to the type of reader who would drop all other forms of help in favour of “Happy Healing”.
What I liked most about the book is that it draws attention to the cognitive and emotive aspects of pain and creates awareness that wellbeing can be attained by changing the mindset and attitude towards one’s body and symptoms. What I disliked most about the book was the lack of insight, research, and integration with other treatment methods. We cannot solve everything with just one method, but rather integration and meaningful application.
I think this book is worthy of 2 out of 4 stars because of the lack of research and the layout or structure. An update would be beneficial, because the concept of “Happy Healing” is valid and is something that people should know about, but just with some more reliability and fact.
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