Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More

Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More Counseling Insights: Practical Strategies for Helping Others with Anxiety, Trauma, Grief, and More by Vicki Enns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won an electronic copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I’m not a therapist or counselor in a professional sense. I was interested in this book because I feel that we are all, at one time or another, a counselor for a family member, friend or stranger. I think it is important to learn what is helpful, (and what is not), to say or do in the times we find ourselves in these positions. I want to make it clear, though, that nothing replaces professional counseling and it should be encouraged when needed.
We all know someone who lives with depression, anxiety, addiction, grief or one of many other emotions. We may be dealing with one or more ourselves. Knowing how to express ourselves, ways we can help and what the signs are that someone we care about needs extra help is extremely important. I found this book to be very helpful in this. It is written in an easy to understand style. While it is directed at the professional community, I think anyone could benefit from reading it.
We are moving toward a society that is more open about mental health. More everyday people are helping populations that are severely troubled. In my community, the churches have put together a homeless shelter that is run by volunteers. The volunteers are just regular people who will possibly find themselves in a listening role for hurting people. Reading a book such as this one, can help them to ask or say things that will help. I think it can help them identify when someone needs immediate intervention, (someone is suicidal), those who can be helped to locate a counselor,(someone who needs guidance but isn’t in, or a, danger at the moment), and those who just need someone to listen with a caring, nonjudgmental ear.
I think the book is excellent for those who counsel in a professional manner. Everything is broken down into steps and there are examples to follow. What I took most from this book, for professionals, is the encouragement of self examination. Being a professional counselor is a rewarding job that is filled with sad stories, frustrating progress and doubts that they have done enough. It is a difficult profession. Having a book like this one helps to make the job easier.
The book is broken down into chapters that deal with various illnesses and issues. I was happy to see a chapter devoted to the LGBT2SQ+ community and that it’s focus was on how to make the practice a welcoming center. This community has been historically ignored. It is an evolving community as society becomes more educated and accepting of them. They are finding themselves and are finally able to talk about how they see themselves. I think it is important to stay educated on the changes so they are able to be comfortable going to counseling. They are making progress but still dealing with hurtful exclusions and worse. Having counselors who are sincerely interested in their wellbeing is important. Another chapter that I found particularly insightful was the chapter on grief. We normally think of grief as being related to death of someone we were close to. After reading this chapter, I learned that grief has many forms of loss. This was interesting and very useful. In the chapters you will learn of each topic, learn the principles of them, be given strategies and have case examples to help you visualize everything. At the end of the book there is a section for resources that are used in the topic chapters. There is also a link where you can download PDF’s from a website.
Overall I found this to be an excellent book that will improve your skills in helping others. Christmas is coming up and this would be a nice gift to a student who is studying to be a counselor/therapist.

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Review: The Swing of Things

The Swing of Things The Swing of Things by Linda Keir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was actually surprised by this book. The first half was pretty much what I thought it would be, though better written. I was ready for it to be more trashy, less thoughtful. I liked the slow pace of that half. The get to know the players set up. The second half though..wow! A twist that shocked me, a second turn that I kind of was expecting and a couple of smaller twists had me gripped all the way to the end. I have already been recommending it to a few of my friends.
This book does contain adult material including sexual situations that occur outside of marriage. If you are opposed to reading that, please choose a different book. It really does annoy me when someone gives a one star review for choosing to read a book they know contains things they really oppose. It isn’t fair to those reading reviews. Whatever star rating you choose, let it be an honest one based on a book you really want to read. That is what is helpful to those considering reading a book. I’ll get off my soapbox now. I enjoyed the book. It gave me a lot to think about and wonder what I would have chosen to do. I understand that the book was actually written by two authors. That was something I did not know until after I read the book. I think they did a great job with it.


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Review: Spiced and Iced

Spiced and Iced Spiced and Iced by Jenny Kales
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the second book of the series, Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries. It can be read alone but is much better read in order. The setting is winter in Wisconsin.
I love Callie and her family. They are so warm. You feel as though you really know them and could just pop in for a visit. The mystery in Spiced and Iced was well done with several decent suspects. At the end there was plenty to wrap up as you were kept guessing with lots of reasons why. Everything does get wrapped up though I didn’t guess correctly until right before the reveal. I can’t wait to see what is coming next!
There are a few recipes, of Greek flavor, in the back. My favorite was Sweetie’s Spinach Squares aka Lazy Spanakopita. It is super easy to make and is so tasty, tasty. I could eat this everyday! If you do holiday baking, there are several recipes that will definitely have you in the kitchen.


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Review: Gingerbread Dreams

Gingerbread Dreams by Anna J. Stewart My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was gifted a ebook copy of this book. It...