Pocket Therapy by Sarah Crosby takes readers on a journey of self-discovery to find ways to feel happier and more confident. The author is a therapist with a large Instagram following (@themindgeek), and the paperback version of the book comes in a square shape à la Instagram. The reviewer copy I got didn’t have graphics, but from the preview on Amazon, it looks like the book has graphics in the same style as what the author posts on her Instagram. It appears that the book was originally published in the UK a couple of years ago under the title 5 Minute Therapy.
The author is upfront about this book not being a quick fix or a replacement for therapy. Throughout the book, she points out things that can be done most effectively with a therapist, particularly in the realm of dealing with the effects of trauma. While the book isn’t geared specifically towards people who’ve experienced trauma, it’s certainly very trauma-informed. I also think it would be good for people with or without a mental illness.
The book has chapters on self-discovery, attachment, self-talk, recognizing triggers, self-regulation, boundaries, reparenting, and going beyond the self to be a good friend. It covers a range of topics, including cognitive distortions, the fight-flight-freeze-fawn response, the window of tolerance, grounding and mindfulness practices, and codependency.
I liked the author’s explanation of triggers: “Triggers are emotional buttons. They connect the present moment into a memory or situation in the past that was painful or traumatic for us. This can happen either consciously or unconsciously, and can be felt both emotionally and physically.”
I also liked how the author handled the chapter on boundaries, including framing them as self-care, giving ideas of language to use to establish them, and laying out an approach to addressing crossed boundaries (recognize, regulate, reinstate, reconsider).
I was unsure if the chapter on reparenting would be relevant for someone like me without a history of childhood trauma, but I thought the author had an interesting take on it. She explained that reparenting is about both learning how to provide for needs that went unmet and unlearning limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. She presented it as something that could be useful to address things like believing that self-care is indulgent, struggling with negative self-talk, or people-pleasing. I liked this bit: “So remember that self-care, self-nourishment and self-parenting (or reparenting) are for the self, not by the self. So, although time alone can serve us well, if we ever start feeling disconnected from people, overwhelmed by the path we’re on, lacking in support, or feeling that our attempts at self-care and reparenting are turning into emotional isolation and re-traumatization, then be sure to reach out for help.”
The author has a warm, friendly, genuine tone to her writing, and I can see why she’s popular on Instagram. The book is very grounded in reality, and there are no promises of any of it being a quick and easy way to cure you of what ails you, which I very much appreciate. If you’re looking for a down-to-earth book about improving mental well-being, this would be a great choice.
Pocket Therapy is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.