Author Alexandra York’s review of Dr. Hurd’s new book:
Dr. Hurd begins this very important, very serious book by making us laugh. Taking a hypothetical patient with a problem to seven different therapists and giving us seven different opinions on how to solve his problem deftly demonstrates why patients should ‘vet’ any potential mental health professional
before taking advice or changing any behavior. He then goes into detail on how certain types of therapy can actually hurt a patient by examining the flaws in Psychoanalysis, Insight therapy, Behavioral therapy, Mystical therapy, Child therapy, and more. His astute analyses of bad psychotherapy should be extremely helpful to anyone approaching the idea of going into therapy because it exposes the dangers inherent in following harmful advice and offers ‘red flags’ to look for when deciding whom to go to for help.
His analysis of good therapy is so good that after reading this book, filled with specifics, a potential patient may simply follow his lead and find it unnecessary to seek professional help at all. By examining the value of introspection, the importance of identifying expected outcomes, setting a time frame for verification of progress toward stated goals, understanding determinism vs. free will, reason vs. emotions, feelings vs. facts, and learning how to use logic and common sense, any individual will have a good blueprint to follow toward solutions to any and all problems, whether going it alone or judging the validity of a professional. He states: ‘The task of psychotherapy is to help individuals solve emotional problems through the use of logic. It should strive to teach them how much power they have over their lives when they act on reason rather than unexamined emotions.’ In other words, thoughts and feelings must be integrated, and individuals must make the choice to change and identify the path toward desired changes.
As a fiction writer, I found Dr. Hurd’s book especially enlightening because when I devise conflicts for my characters, I have to imbue them with psychological and existential problems and then dramatize either their success or failure in solving them. My novel CROSSPOINTS A Novel of Choice, in fact, has this subject as its very theme: the choices we make in life determine not only our future but also our very identity. With this in mind, I found Dr. Hurd’s demystification of psychology and his down-to-earth analysis of the root causes of dysfunctions brought about by faulty thinking processes that lead to faulty behavior patterns often compounded by erroneous subconscious premises to be spot-on. His warnings that psychologists are people, too, and may well have insecurities, obsessions, and compulsions of their own are spot-on, too, because they spell out the importance of interviewing potential therapists to ascertain their core values before granting them the position of helping you with yours. He also takes a look through a wide-angle lens at America’s cultural demise, philosophical confusions, health care crises, and political powers gone astray, which gives food for thought in judging the dangerous direction the country as a whole is going toward. Not only private individuals but also politicians and professional therapists should read this book, for there is help for anyone and everyone in this rational and readable text.
(Alexandra York’s web site is American Renaissance for the Twenty-First Century, found at www.art-21.org)