Disclaimer: I received free copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews.
Over the past few months, I have gotten the opportunity to read and review two self-help books. One is about the “flavor” of OCD coined Harm OCD, and the second is about applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles for “super-feelers.”
TLDR: Both of the authors are superstars, and both of the books were helpful for applying to different challenges and goals.
Overcoming Harm OCD: Mindfulness and CBT Tools for Coping with Unwanted Violent Thoughts
by Jonathan Hershfield, MFT
Jon Hershfield is a really cool guy. Like he’s a Jedi master in the OCD therapy world.
I remember hearing about him and then seeing him at my first OCDcon. I was starstruck. His book, When a Family Member has OCD, was recommended to my family when I was first diagnosed. I’ve since gotten to talk with Jon at following OCDcon’s and get to know him more.
All this to say, Jon is really cool, but rather than in a teenager wearing sunglasses and skateboarding kind of way, in a helpful therapist with dark sense of humor sort of way.
This is a really well done self-help book for OCD, specifically for harm obsessions, though I think the content could be useful for just about anyone with OCD. I read the book in a few hours (granted it still took several weeks because I have 18 library books…sorry, Jon).
Jon is validating, but not reassuring, and he explains ERP in a crystal clear way so it is clear for newbies, but masters can still learn more. His style of writing is engaging; it’s full of examples from his years of experience working with clients and also personal anecdotes and wit.
If you or your loved one has OCD, this book could prove to be very helpful.
But who really knows? After all, certainty is impossible.
Escaping the Emotional Roller Coaster: ACT for the Emotionally Sensitive
by Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona
I came to this book from an interesting perspective as a super-feeler having already been through therapy including ACT, CBT, and primarily DBT. Overall, I found this to be a useful guide to first learning about ACT and some tools for managing emotions.
Surprisingly, there is a lot of overlap between ACT and DBT when it comes to mindfulness of thoughts, opposite action, interpersonal skills, etc. just with different names. I think I am still biased towards the framework and explanations of DBT. Nonetheless, I could see ACT and this book being very helpful as a starter for someone looking for help.
Overall, I found the writing style easy to understand and fun at times. Chapter 35 was my favorite by far though because it felt much more personal and a little less like an instructional manual. I wish there had been more examples from Dr. Z’s life of skill usage.
Lastly, I wondered why BPD wasn’t mentioned. Perhaps, that’s just because that’s my diagnosis as a super-feeler and the author wanted to remain more generic, but it was a question I had.