The Evolution of Negative Emotions

guilt-shame-and-anxiety-lrgThis Week’s Book = Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions (by Peter R. Breggin, MD)

I’ve finally gotten past the lack of motivation that’s been plaguing me for weeks and I’ve returned to books that are much more informational and full of substance. So I picked up this book – Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety. The title sounded appealing – most of my clients come in discussing one or a combination of those emotions. It seemed to have potential in terms of helping me to find new strategies for assisting clients. Looking back, I feel deceived.

I wasn’t even through the first chapter when I stopped and thought, “What the heck am I reading??” Now, don’t take that to mean that the information being presented was completely ludicrous or utter nonsense. No, that wasn’t the case – it was just not what I had expected when I picked up the book. Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety focuses on the evolutionary basis for these negative emotions and it totally caught me off guard. I really think that a more appropriate title for this book would have been ‘The Evolution of Negative Emotions’…maybe that title was taken though.

Don’t get me wrong, I do find evolutionary psychology to be very interesting. However, I found this book to be extremely repetitive, inundated with metaphors and, at times, minimizing of the experience of shame. I actually couldn’t finish this book…that rarely happens, but I felt like I was reading the same things over and over again. I also didn’t get a sense that the book was ever going to reach the point of describing how to overcome negative emotions – the title’s promise that had drawn me in. I would not suggest reading this book unless you have an overwhelming passion for discussions of evolution or you need repetition to drive home the information you’re reading. I would imagine that there are much more informational books out there on the subject of guilt, shame, and anxiety.

Interested in buying the book?  Click here.

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