I’m a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and I cannot recommend Dr. Mike Dow’s recent book, “Your Subconscious Brain Can Change Your Life.” I give Dow’s book zero stars.
Here are my concerns:
Firstly, I think this book is irresponsible. It may suggest to people that they should stop or don’t need their psych meds. Dr. Dow, is not a licensed psychologist, and he repeatedly devalues psych meds. Dr. Dow declares, “Filling your life with productive, pleasurable, and purposeful events every day is a potent antidepressant.” Or, “While prescription medication can be a piece of the solution for some who truly need it, your everyday choices, your mind-set, your daily diet, your exercise routine, your spiritual practice, the power of hope, and your relationships have an even more profound and lasting role in your health and happiness.” Claiming that physical exercise or a spiritual practice has a more profound impact on health and happiness than prescription medication is very dangerous and harmful advice to give.
To get people to buy into his “revolutionary” “subconscious visualization techniques” Dr. Dow pits helpful therapies against each other. It’s too bad he feels he has to knock everything else, why not just make your point?
Secondly, his discussion on neuroscience is flawed. In ch.1, Dr. Dow pits the “subconscious mind” against the “conscious mind.” Dr. Dows views the conscious mind as the trouble maker that plays a role in anxiety disorders because of all its analyzing and “weighing every piece of information to reach conclusions.” He praises the subconscious mind stating, “your subconscious brain is always on your side” and “when it comes to the subconscious brain: positive emotion trumps negative emotion.” Neuroscience experts like Dr. Louis Cozolino, (In, “The Neuroscience of Human Relationships)” actually claim the exact opposite. Conscious processing in the left hemisphere of the brain is biased towards “positive affect” and unconscious or subconscious processing in the right hemisphere of the brain is biased toward “negative affect.” Those who work with anxious, depressed, or traumatized patients see first hand how their subconscious mind is not “always” on their side and is anxiously on the look-out for the next bad thing. As a therapist, I often encourage my clients to use their conscious mind to talk back to their anxiety mind (e.g., “Be quiet anxiety mind!” “Maybe not!” “Most likely, it’s going to be OK”).
Thirdly, this author presents old ideas as if they are brand new. There is nothing “revolutionary” or “ground breaking” about cultivating positive thinking or using guided imagery techniques to increase one’s confidence or reduce anxiety.
Rather than buying this book that over promises and embodies “splitting” (black-and-white thinking) (i.e., natural supplements-good, psych meds-bad, subconscious mind-good, conscious mind-bad) I highly recommend Dan Harris’ new book “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” it offers practical exercises and the science he offers about the benefits of meditation is solid. Dan Harris is not grandiose like this author is. And doesn’t claim that this "one" technique will change your life forever!
- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Hay House (8 September 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401955878
- ISBN-13: 978-1401955878
- Product Dimensions:: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 399 g
- Customer reviews: 77 customer ratings