I was a bit dubious about the author's credentials and qualifications-he had a degree in theology or something...
How is that relevant to psychology? I know he went onto get a phD later on but I still remained very
skeptical. I felt like this author basically just cobbled together every other therapy method possible and just stuck it all in one book and said "there you go" whereas I find it better to have a book that focuses on ONE particular therapy method. I like a detailed look at a therapy method-how to use it etc. He included a section on NLP (Neuro-Lingual Programming) in the book which is a pseudoscience-it hasn't been validated by any
There was some good information on 12 step terminology but anyone who has been to a 12 step meeting will already know all of this information anyways. I think that the disease model is great for addiction but less effective for other issues like shame, "codependency" (urgh, hate that word!) so that's really my main complaint with this book. Low self-esteem is NOT a disease or an addiction-it's an Axis I mental health disorder like depression, anxiety etc and should be treated accordingly. I much prefer reading about evidence based treatments such as DBT, CBT etc i.e. treatments have been empirically tested and found to be effective. Not everything
is an addiction!
I also felt like the author was a pretty lousy human being and that he was perhaps blaming all his wrongdoing on his "toxic shame"
So it was hard for me to take him seriously-I just didn't think he was putting any of it into practice in his own life but just touting himself as some kind of self-help guru. He tells of how he treated women pretty badly in relationships... because of his "toxic shame"..
And after that point, I just found myself switching off. He also talks about a guy at the start of the book who abandoned his wife and kids but somehow the reader was meant to feel SORRY for this guy? Well no, I didn't..I just thought that he was a jerk as opposed to a victim. I think there is a danger with these kinds of books-that someone who is actually a horrible person will read a book like this and blame all their problems on a supposedly horrible childhood instead of taking responsibility for their life. I feel like books like this just give professional victims yet another excuse/get out of jail card.
I felt like the author came from the school of hard knocks as opposed to actually doing any kind of clinical research on his subject-he basically goes on about how he's an alcoholic, had a turbulent upbringing blah blah blah. I don't care about any of that! I expect MORE from a psychologist than a sob story. I think his whole point was "oh here's all the mistakes I made in my life-don't do them". Whilst his honesty was good, I feel like I want to read a book by someone more stable-he just struck me as a mess of a person... addiction issues, relationship issues.. I was NOT impressed with him as a person whatsoever..
Even the term "toxic shame" irritated me. Shame is just a feeling-I don't think it needs to be trumped up and called "toxic shame".Everyone has all kinds of feelings-the feeling does eventually pass away. It's not nice to feel any kind of shame-sure there is shame that is justified i.e. when you've done something wrong and feel like you've betrayed your own sense of ethics etc and then a sense of shame that isn't justified i.e. where someone does something wrong and blames you for it but I feel like he just laboured over that point for way too long. Every time I hear the term "toxic shame", it triggers me..it actually makes me feel MORE ashamed not less! I do not want pejorative labels like "toxic shame", "codependency" etc..I am a person, not an object and I want to have my dignity and self-respect. I know that there is nothing "wrong" with me but hearing all these dumb labels makes me feel like there is! So the ethos of the book really backfired on me
I agree with Bronxman that the idea of roleplaying the part of a newborn infant with total strangers was creepy!
For people that genuinely want to recover, I would say that there are much better books out there on the subject.