Note: Essay below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files will contain proper formattingExcerpt from Book Report:
BOOK REVIEW AND RESPONSE ...? FEELING GOOD
Author Credentials and Experience and Quality of Information Delivered
The author, David Burns, is a medical doctor and the former Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School and a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine where he received his degree. The author is also a teacher and researcher and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Burns is also the recipient of various professional awards including the A. E. Bennett Award from the Society for Biological Society, which he received for research into brain chemistry. He received a Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award from the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, as well as a Teacher of the Year award from the graduating residents in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Unlike many so-called "pop-psychology...? books, Feeling Good provides a comprehensive and empirical research-based overview of the relationship between neurological and hormonal processes and mood. By virtue of his professional training and areas of research interest, Dr. Burns is uniquely capable of explaining both neurological concepts and principles as well as the external manifestations of their effect on the individual. At the same time, Dr, Burns provides a practical means of recognizing the potential relevance and source of feelings and impulses, as well as of the various triggers and other environmental factors that typically precipitate mood changes, particularly in relation to depression and related issues.
Clarity of Presentation and Meaningfulness of Suggestions
The primary value of this book is precisely the way that the author is able to connect external influences, internal responses, and the biological processes that combine to produce unwanted mood changes. The explanation of neurological processes is deep enough to help readers understand the biological roots of their feelings but without going too in-depth into technical processes that might exceed the comprehension of most lay readers. On the other hand, those explanations do help the reader conceptualize the mechanisms that are responsible for their moods and for the reactions that may otherwise seem to be completely unexplainable or irrational judging purely by the manner in which they are experienced subjectively. This continual juxtaposition between the world of neurological processes and the external world of everyday perception of mood and impulse is extremely helpful to the reader and may also provide a basis for imposing a form of self-regulation along the same lines of traditional biofeedback principles.
Reflection about Psychology Self-Help Books in General
In general, this genre of literature exhibits a very wide range of quality, primarily because there are no formal requirements on who can refer to himself as an expert provided he or she does not use any of the specific terms (such as "psychotherapist...?) whose use is regulated by state and federal law. As a general rule, one should always research the professional credentials, formal training, and professional certifications and acknowledgments of the author of such works before assuming that the information provided is necessarily accurate, applicable, and useful. Another danger is that certain psychological symptoms and conditions are attributable to bona-fide illnesses that require professional attention and or regulation through psychotropic medications. If individuals suffering from these types of conditions rely exclusively on self-help books, they could remain untreated and continue to suffer needlessly. Otherwise, as long as the reader performs due diligence with respect to researching the credentials and expertise of the author, some self-help books can indeed be very helpful. This particular work seems to be an example of just such a book.
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