Written by: Carl Puleo, LPCA
Getting counseling is very important for many people who want to have a positive change in their lives. But for most people who go to counseling, they only spend an hour or two each week. What about the other 167 hours? The work that goes into creating change in one’s life takes place during this time.
So, it is important to have some resources to work with. Going to a bookstore or the library can become overwhelming with all of the self-help books available. Where do you start? What is worth your time or a waste of your time? In this article, I am going to present what I believe are valuable resources for your efforts to change your life.
Mindfulness has become a craze in the self-help world. If you haven’t heard about Mindfulness, never fear. This book, The Mindfulness Toolbox by Donald Altman will answer any questions you have about this topic. The complete title of this book is The Mindfulness Toolbox, 50 Practical Mindfulness Tips, Tools, and Handouts for Anxiety, Depression, Stress, and Pain. This is not a typical self-help book. It is written to offer counselors a set of tools and handouts in order to help them teach Mindfulness to their clients. Don’t let that deter you from checking this book out. I have shared many of the techniques and skills presented in this book with my clients and I highly recommend it as a self-help aid. The goal for most counselors is to help people become their own counselor. Because I want to present to you resources for your own self-help work, why not use a resource that counselors use?
Altman defines Mindfulness like this: “Mindfulness is a powerful, scientifically proven medicine for breaking free from harmful emotional ruts and mindless habits in order to live with full awareness and greater freedom.” The book is divided up into five sections. Section one features 10 tips for counselors. These are tips to help counselors teach clients the different areas of the book. Even though this section is specifically written for the counselor, each tip offers great insight that anyone who thinks self-help is important would find useful. The remaining four sections focus on one of the following areas: anxiety, depression, stress, and pain in that order. Each section offers 10 tools for each area.
For example, under the anxiety section, there are 10 tools to practice for dealing with anxiety in a mindfulness way. For each tool there are “Thoughts for the Therapist”, “Tips for Working with Clients”, a handout with information about the tool and instructions on how to apply the tool. Altogether there are 40 tools in the remaining four sections.
What I like most about this book is that it offers practical applications in an easy-to-read organized way. As a self-help tool, you could pull out from whatever section you wanted and immediately begin practicing the tools presented. Each tool is only 3 to 4 pages in length. A few of the tools are more complicated than others, but for the majority of the book each skill presented is easy to follow and easy to understand. Like I stated earlier I use a lot of these tools in my own therapeutic toolbox. You might want to consider adding the tools in this book into your own self-help toolbox.