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 Review of Dr.James Alexander's book
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alix

USA
434 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2013 :  23:06:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I posted a while back that I would review Dr.James Alexander's book "The Hidden Psychology of Pain" that I read during the holidays. What originally raised my interest is that Dr.Alexander suffered from groin pain. There are several books about back pain but fewer about pelvic/groin pain (not that the location ultimately matters, symptoms are symptoms but that aspect caught my attention).
As a general overview I would say that the book is an outstanding reference for chronic pain sufferers wishing to explore the mindbody approach. It is a new book so it offers a very comprehensive survey of the current knowledge in this domain. Very nicely, it gives full credit to Dr.Sarno and there is no futile attempt to rename TMS something else which I find honest and refreshing.
It is entirely based on the work of Dr.Sarno and teaches how popular methods such as EMDR or EFT (and many other techniques) can be used in conjunction.
The book does not hold back information like so many self help books that ultimately are a front end to clinics or seminars where you discover the real deal. It is all practical and usable. Very rightly so in my opinion Dr.Alexander does not set a rigid healing timeline which can be the source of frustration when you fail to reach the goals.
I like the theory of "exceptions" that I used completely independently and quite successfully (I made my own recordings reinforcing what Dr.Alexander calls exceptions).
The exceptions being the symptoms that every once in a while have strange patterns that are not physically explainable and that can be used as a reminder of the psychogenic origin of the symptoms. For example you may dread that flight in advance but you realize afterward that strangely you had very little pain which makes no sense as sitting for more than 2 hours "always" gives you pain. Those are the the "exceptions" that you can use to your advantage to reinforce the TMS concept.
In conclusion the book is a very practical and eminently usable resource. The writing is very understandable and the instructions straightforward. What distinguishes this book is the very comprehensive coverage of all aspects of TMS.

tennis tom

USA
4702 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2013 :  23:49:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alix



...There are several books about back pain but fewer about pelvic/groin pain (not that the location ultimately matters, symptoms are symptoms but that aspect caught my attention).


...Very nicely, it gives full credit to Dr.Sarno and there is no futile attempt to rename TMS something else which I find honest and refreshing.

...It is entirely based on the work of Dr.Sarno and teaches how popular methods such as EMDR or EFT (and many other techniques) can be used in conjunction.

...I like the theory of "exceptions" that I used completely independently and quite successfully...

...The exceptions being the symptoms that every once in a while have strange patterns that are not physically explainable and that can be used as a reminder of the psychogenic origin of the symptoms.



Thanks Alix, very good review. His theory of "EXCEPTIONS" sounds interesting. I think I've had some of those in my left bicep, right hand, urinary urgency and a strange phenomenon, whenever I get near the town of Santa Cruz on the California coast, my hands cramp-up on the steering wheel like lobster hands.

Cheers,
tt
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RageSootheRatio

Canada
430 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  08:48:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for posting this, Alix. Very interesting. Have never heard of the idea of "exceptions" before, and really like that.

BTW I've been listening to the mp3s (free) from Dr James Alexander web site which have been quite amazing in some parts (including his OWN story) !! I would recommend those resources to others.

(Also, thanks for the link to the "headaches/migraines and social situations" in the other thread that you posted for me. I managed to "abort" a headache yesterday using Ace1's Keys to Healing ... concentrating on reducing the mental strain and resting ... maybe it helped I had no social situations I had to contend with!)

RSR
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chickenbone

Panama
398 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  17:47:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Alix, thanks for the book review. I was hoping someone would review it. I am reading it now, should be finished in a day or two. I totally agree with you and more and I am a tough critic. I have read a lot of psychology books. At first, I thought it might just be another "psych" book, but it is definitely a book everyone dealing with these issues should read. I am really impressed with Dr. Alexander's coverage and knowledge of the physiology of pain. I recently read 2 books on neurology and his work jibes completely with what I have read. He starts where Dr. Sarno leaves off. I am really impressed with his ability to use a interdisciplinary approach really effectively. I am pleasantly surprised by his ability to bring together all of the relevant information on this subject, and yet produce a very readable and practical guide.
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shawnsmith

Czech Republic
2048 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  17:54:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can purchase a hard cover of his book here: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Hidden-Psychology-Pain-Dr-James-Alexander/9781452506807

The pdf version, if you wish to purchase the book in that format, is 465 pages long but much cheaper. http://bookstore.balboapress.com/Products/SKU-000562894/The-Hidden-Psychology-of-Pain.aspx
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alix

USA
434 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  18:13:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
rsr and tt,
Thanks for the kind words. Yes, "exceptions" are something to be cultivated. You can then start to finally connect the dots.

chickenbone,
Thanks for adding to my review. "He starts where Dr. Sarno leaves off" as you wrote is a good way to put it.
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Ace1

USA
1040 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  18:28:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a great book!
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alix

USA
434 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  23:57:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Indeed Ace. I think you will get a good idea of the book and his stance by simply reading the rebuttal Dr.Alexander offers in response to an anti-Sarno article "A Skeptical Look at the Theories of Sarno". Scroll down, for Dr.Alexander's reply dated Dec 28:
http://www.bettermovement.org/2011/a-skeptical-look-at-the-theories-of-dr-john-sarno/
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