- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Westland (30 October 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9387578933
- ISBN-13: 978-9387578937
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Reclaim Your Life Paperback – 30 Oct 2018
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About the Author
Dr Shelja Sen is a therapist, writer and story weaver. She is the co-founder of Children First, an institute for child and adolescent mental health. Her previous books, All You Need Is Love: The Art of Mindful Parenting and Imagine: No Child Left Invisible, have been critically acclaimed internationally. Shelja aligns herself with collaborative practices that honour the dignity of the person and works at developing richer narratives. She has also done TED talks on how building emotionally safe spaces for children are a prerequisite for them to grow, thrive and flourish. She believes that the younger generation are the change-makers and have to be disruptive, subversive and question all the ‘taken-for-granted realities’ that are thrown at them. Along with all this, Shelja also loves reading, writing, travelling and is a campaigner for playfulness across all ages. She lives in New Delhi with her husband, two children, a dog, assortment of other animals and a tribe of amazing friends and CF family.
You could write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website www.childrenfirstindia.com for more details.
From the Publisher
A Book About Everyone and For Everyone!
O how I would have loved to have written this book!
Written in an engaging, compassionate, lively and lovely style, it gently helps the reader to first accept their misery as it is, then foster the multiple hidden strengths that self-kindness can discover in themselves. I hope that it will be translated into many languages. I certainly will recommend it as a must-read to my students.
Dr Luc Isebaert,
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Bruges, Belgium.
Reclaim your Life is a book about everyone. It is also a book which is deeply personal and intimate. These are not contradictory observations for while each of us, all seven billion who comprise humanity, has a unique life story, these stories weave together into a rich tapestry of universal truths about us. Read on to be inspired by learning that you are the master of your own story.
Professor Vikram Patel,
Harvard Medical School, Co-founder - Sangath.
Reclaim your Life offers many useful possibilities for those striving to help people with mental health challenges. The accessibility of Shelja’s writing also ensures that Shelja’s sharing can work equally well as a self-help book, for anyone struggling with life and falling short of who they want to be.
Mr John Wheeler
UKCP Registered Systemic Psychotherapist, UK
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It is also for those who are trying to help someone with anxiety and depression, etc. It really allows you to take a step in their shoes, to understand things in the most simplistic ways.
The book isn’t only about mental health, it is also about just being a human. It is also about daily struggles and just how to allow yourself to be sometimes, yet constantly following the light to your North Star!
It’s a beautiful beautiful book!
Nevertheless I believe I am also an objective and discerning consumer of psychology related writing and have reviewed the book in that spirit.
In reclaim your life - Shelja parts with the writing styles of university professors citing “latest research” - and - of overly prescriptive and narcissistic self help gurus. In her writing there is a warm, deeply authentic and encouraging therapeutic touch - that only a seasoned, committed and ambitious practitioner at the cutting edge of her practice can bring.
Ambitious? Oh yes ! Bringing awareness and skills to our society - for mental well-being - is no mean task. And other than genuine compassion and empathy - it requires the ambition to “make a difference” - to put ones best out there in therapy and in authorship as Shelja has done yet again.
Shelja has refered to her work as a curation of ideas she has picked up in her reading and through her education and practice. Indeed she has masterfully curated and beautifully brought together some of the great ideas of the finest minds in the field, from universities to monasteries to daffodil fields. Even so to call it a curation - is - well - modesty.
She has also spoken of cross pollination without sticky adherence to a particular school of practice or belief- which again speaks of authenticity - and a practical therapeutic approach rather than one aimed at “owning” a concept or a term. The “publish or perish” culture in many western universities tends to produce many attempts at academic fame - and while some are excellent - many are painful. None of that here.
Most significantly Shelja gives us access to real cases she has encountered in therapy that have shaped her greatly. She has been very candid about her own earlier biases and eventual growth through these experiences. She cites at one point importantly her appreciation for the “Carl Rogers” approach in this context. She intertwines these cases with striking metaphors (panning for gold - my favourite in the book), poetry, plenty of appropriately used “F” words, and timeless wisdom from Rumi to Thich Nhat Hanh to Alanis.
She skilfully nudges, but never judges. She draws on her training in Narrative Therapy and Solution Focussed Brief Therapy (SFBT) and makes these intuitive and accessible to us in her own unique way.
Shelja takes the use of acronym to another level. Surely rooted in her experience in therapy with younger people. The stress on acronyms to remember and apply concepts - at this scale - to my knowledge is unique.
ABC - Aware,Breathe, Change the Channel is my favourite go to “mind-hack” to pull myself out of mindless misery. Simple and so powerful. Another one that has stuck with me since reading this book is PQ - playfulness quotient - something that has not been given the importance it deserves. I think PQ alone could be the subject of a future book Shelja ?
But......possibly a few acronyms too many? Sometimes I found myself in a kind of “alphabet soup for the soul”. And felt challenged to remember all. Partly triggered by an obsessive trait maybe - I hate forgetting an acronym once heard ! If you have such a trait be warned - lots of acronyms in here ! There is a nice summary sketch towards the end of the book made - I am sure - by one of the younger of her “tribe” members. But I would have welcomed an exhaustive glossary of ALL acronyms in the book. Maybe in a future edition of this book?
“Reclaim your life” is rich and deep enough to serve as a proper DIY therapy approach for those in depression or anxiety. At the same time it is light enough for anyone to pick up - and read - not even necessarily in a chronological order - to pick up so many uplifting ideas and approaches to tweak life (kaizen?) bit by bit for the better. A kind of swiss knife for emotional well being. For a fairly concise book goes extremely deep and wide somehow.
The recommended reading list at the end is welcome and excellent.
Everything that is in the book is applicable universally accross cultures. But her professional experience in the Indian context brings touches to this book that may not be available in books by foreign authors. Also - to my knowledge - there is no comparable Indian author - who is also a practicing psychologist with deep experience in the indian context - writing so extensively and deeply on mental health.
We need more such voices in mental health in India. This is an important step. In the words of Lao Tsu - mentioned within the book as well - “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Shelja has taken 3 steps in terms of books. I hope to see more from her as well as from other Indian minds in this space.
But i love to change myself , my inner soul , my mindset
I think younsters have to read this book
Its about how to live , how to act with other persons
If you are think you are in dispersion , anxiety , ocd anything that can disturb you , make you feel lonely, unhappy , feard , you hve to read this book,
Im sure you appreciate the author for the beautiful book.
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I would like to know if you find it helpful
If you trying to get rid from depression and anxiety it is a must read,the topic of this book is well written and can be understood by anyone
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The readability is such that anyone can delve into this book and learn from it.It is not preachy and gives us some great examples which may seem all too familiar.
The tips and life practices elaborated in this book are something anyone and everyone can benefit from. I particularly resonated with the list of activities that could “ pepper you life with sparkling joy”.
I do love the revisiting from Dr.Sen’s previous books of PQ ( Playfullness quotient) it is so imperative to keep the child in you alive !
And of course my favourite Zihuatanejo from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.
As the cover says this really moves beyond the stigma associated with mental health.
Do grab this if you feel you could use a great positivity boost .