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30-day-challenge19Day 19: Have you ever read a self-help book or a book related to psychology?  What is your opinion on them?  If you have read them do you have a favorite?

I think that this post has all the makings of being one of the shortest (or certainly the simplest) of posts I have done in this challenge.

Previous reading…

I am fairly confident that I would have – many years ago – read a number of books related to psychology or mental illness.

Part of my ministry was to work with folk who experienced mental illness or poor mental health and thus I am sure that I would have read some books as a result of this and in order to understand my own mental illnesses better.

But I have to be totally honest and confess that I couldn’t for the life of me remember the title of a single one of them now.

As for self-help books yes, here again, I am fairly confident that I have read one or two books of this type in the past.  But because of my ministry and faith these would have been more associated with faith, love, and emotions than they would be associated with mental illness or mental health or psychology.


As I am sure you have already guessed from the above statements, no I don’t have any favorites as such.  Well not when it comes to psychology or self-help related books.

Partly this is down to my not having recently read any and partly it is down to difficulties that I experience in respect of my memory.

Additionally, I think I should also explain that since I write books I have a personal policy of not reading books during the periods when I am writing a book.  This is because I do not want to inadvertently adopt another writer’s writing style or indeed inadvertently be influenced by their ideas.

On my bookshelf…

To help me offer something of worth in this post however, I have just glanced through my bookshelves in order to see (and remind myself) whether  there are any books of this type – psychology or self-help related – on them.  And I have found two or three.

And so, working on the precept that if they made it as far as my bookshelves and remained on there I must have found some value in keeping them, I share these with you now…

Masks of MelancholyWritten by John White – A Christian Physician – and published by Intervarsity Press (1982) it is still available – mainly in used or second hand format now and can be purchased at a very reasonable prices via Amazon etc.

In this book he (John White) looks at the subjects of depression and suicide and identifies the symptoms of depression, explains its complex causes, and discusses available treatments.

(OF course it is worth remembering and noting that it was published in 1982 and so some of it’s content is specific to the understandings and treatments available at that time.)


Why-Am-I-Afraid-To-Tell-You-Who-I-Am-bookFr. John Powell, (S.J). was a Jesuit priest and was also the Associate Professor of Theology and Psychology at Loyola University.

Whilst I am neither of the Jesuit or Roman Catholic faith I do recall finding his approach to the subject matter within this book extremely insightful, thought provoking and challenging.

The Amazon write up for this book begins with the statement “This book by the author of Why Am I Afraid to Love? contains insights on self-awareness, personal growth and communication with others.”  And I would certainly agree with that statement.  I do recall finding the book well worth having.

So much so that I also obtained a copy of another of his works…

why am i afraid to love.Also by Fr. John (Joseph) Powell this book was actually written before the one I have just mentioned above.

‘Goodreads’ describe this book thusly…

Tear down the walls that you’ve built to protect yourself from rejection. That’s the urgent message in this classic book on the universal human desire to love and be loved.

And again I would have very little problem with that description.  And again I do recall really enjoying and being personally challenged in my thinking as a result of this book.

As far as I am aware both of these books are still available.  And whilst all three books do contain a ‘faith-based’ element, I do still believe that all three of them could be a worthwhile read whether you have a faith or not.


I am very much aware that the question also called for me to share my opinion on self-help and psychology based books.  And to be totally honest I don’t really have any great opinion on either of them.  Other than, that is, to say that I am personally of the opinion that as with most things it is important to approach them with an open and objective mind.

As with all my reading, I am prepared – when reading someone else’s work – to have my personal understandings, beliefs and opinions challenged.  Indeed I expect and want them to be challenged.  Otherwise how else are we going to learn.  But having had them challenged I then decide for myself what I want to accept or take from that book and what I want to discount.

So there you have it.  My answer to today’s challenge.  Fairly short and extremely simple. ( I almost impressed myself LOL).   And so, not wishing to complicate it any further,  I end with this simple but oh so very true quote…