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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Self Help addiction

There are far too many people on this forum who are self-help junkies. This is obvious every time someone uses jargon (your happy place, your inner child, etc.) or recommends yet another mainstream self-help book.

The vast majority of self-help books are garbage. They take complex issues and oversimplify them. They pass off slogans and common sense as professional advice. But, more than anything else, the majority of these blame the person seeking help. If it isn't working for you then you aren't trying hard enough or you aren't motivated enough or you are too repressed, etc.

I've seen at least one person talk about using hypnosis to try recover memories of sexual abuse. Do you have any idea how dangerous this is? I've never heard of anyone who recovered real memories of abuse, but the literature is full of people who recovered false ones. This type of quack psychology has even given rise to the false diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. There has yet to be a single case of this documented since the first case of Eve White was copied from the fictional book, "The Bird's Nest".

The mother of all self help programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, only has a success rate of 5%. This is barely distinguishable from the 3% improvement of people who do nothing. 12 step programs are a good way of making money for people who write books but little else. Men are not from Mars; women are not from Venus and self-help books don't actually help.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 04:51 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

Wow....

Seriously, you want to lump AA into silly self help programs?

On the surface I agree with you. I don't think self help books are nearly as helpful as they are widely held to be. People in crisis need a trained professional to guide them, teach them, help them come to terms, hold them accountable....but self help can be a bridge. A bridge to get them thinking and gaining insight. It might not be correct but lots of times it's close enough.

With the way managed health care is going, there are not a lot of people who can afford therapy, so self help books are their life preserver. Enough to keep them from drowning and able to to keep moving.

Even if AA only has a 3% success rate? Not sure I agree with this number.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

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Originally Posted by Anon Pink View Post
Seriously, you want to lump AA into silly self help programs?
Yes. AA is not very effective. A drug that worked 5% of the time would not be approved. An investment with a 5% chance of success would be silly. And, many self-help books are worse.

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Even if AA only has a 3% success rate? Not sure I agree with this number.
No, I said 5%. And that number is directly from AA. BTW, it isn't just AA. Every addiction therapy program I've ever heard of has similar success rates. You might want to read:

Hart, Carl (2013-06-11). High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. HarperCollins.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 06:26 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

Okay, then what's your follow up suggestions?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

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Okay, then what's your follow up suggestions?
Are you asking me to write a self-help book?
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 08:49 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

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Are you asking me to write a self-help book?
Nope, unless you want to.

What I'm asking is what do you think people should turn in order to help them wade through troubles they're having? If not self help books then what?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

In another thread, someone just suggested Teal Swan, yet another quack self-help guru. Only she sells her book by inventing stories about ritualistic sexual abuse, torture, and human sacrifice. She also claims to be an extraterrestrial. An "Indigo" I believe is the jargon they use. This supposedly has something to do with aura the color of indigo. This isn't even sludge, it's below that.

Where do you expect material of this caliber to get you?

Last edited by scientia; 04-29-2014 at 11:45 PM.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 08:54 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

I have the same question as Anon. What do you suggest should be done?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 09:24 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

I dunno, scientia. If TAM isn't working for you, you probably aren't trying hard enough.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 09:27 PM
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Re: Self Help addiction

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I've seen at least one person talk about using hypnosis to try recover memories of sexual abuse.
I hope you're not referring to me. I did post in a sex abuse thread and mentioned NLP. Someone quoted me and lumped that in with hypnosis in a disparaging remark. However, I never, ever said anything about using hypnosis to recover repressed memories. In fact, in a PM to the OP I warned strongly against any therapist who might suggest this. One of my first major papers at university for psychology was on the topic of false memories. I'm quite across the topic.

Just clearing that up, if there was any mix up.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

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I hope you're not referring to me.
No. This was the text I was referring to:

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I have some evidence that I was sexually abused, but have no memory of it. I can't say if I did or didn't for sure. Circumstantial evidence makes a good case something happened to me.

In any case I have been to therapy many times and even was hypnotized once to see if anything came up. I finally had to admit I was never going to know for sure and was going to need to make the best dealing with the present, whatever happened in my childhood.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

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I dunno, scientia. If TAM isn't working for you, you probably aren't trying hard enough.
I have to admit, that did make me laugh.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

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If not self help books then what?
There are currently 204,000 self help books on Amazon.
There are 5,600 specifically for men and 12,000 specifically for women. Maybe we can narrow this down to just the best sellers.

5,273 results for Books : "self help best sellers"

So, your problem is solved because you'll grow old and die before you figure out what book to use.

Last edited by scientia; 04-29-2014 at 10:46 PM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Self Help addiction

Just as an example, The 5 Love Languages. He makes each category extremely broad and then mixes them together. So, the book ends up telling you nothing. A simpler approach than wasting your time reading this is to simply ask your partner what would make them feel loved.

I had a relationship help series that included really bad advice such as sandwiching criticisms between compliments.

Even best sellers like Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus is full of really ephemeral language that can be interpreted in many different ways. And, most of the advice is either ridiculous or would not apply in general to everyone. If this book seems to apply to a lot of people it's because it has no substance. It isn't difficult to find absurd examples such as men are like rubberbands while women are like waves.

If you want to understand about speaking styles, you would probably be better off starting with something by Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistic at Georgetown.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 12:13 AM
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Re: Self Help addiction

Love love love Deborah Tannen! Her ideas on communication are smack on! I have two of hers....you're wearing that and.....? The siblings book...? Can't remember the name.
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