Dr Ray Owen’s book Facing the Storm uses the metaphor of a storm to lead us through the stages of preparing for its arrival, its passing through and the dealing with its aftermath – chapter headings include ‘Gale warnings’ and ‘Listening to the forecasts’, while he ends with ‘The eye of the storm’ and ‘Rebuilding from the driftwood’.
The storm metaphor works as it embraces a number of likelihoods: that life will worsen as a result of it and will be stressful while it occurs, its details are uncertain and, bottom line,there is nothing humanly possible to prevent it (even with the help of a very skilled therapist). However, we can learn to become more resilient, or to cope with the situation in the best way possible. Owen examines what this can mean in practice, with a heavy emphasis on research-backed pragmatism. One chapter takes a close look on effective decision making – something that usually goes awry when under stress.
Owen also addresses the need to make sense of what is happening, along with the need for thinking about adjustments, decisions and plans that emerge as necessary. Responding to our emotions as they, and others, play out is dealt with latterly, with the crucial addition of hope as a feeling-based belief. This is where it becomes clear that the book could sit well alongside therapeutic work, if need be.
Despite the book’s full title, CBT, Acceptance and Mindfulness techniques don’t form much meat, although good references point you to ways of pursuing these ideas further. Case studies dealing with a terminal illness, a relationship breakdown, a job loss and business failure are used throughout, pegging suggestions to the stories as they unfold.
Along with Owen’s personal experience, his use of metaphor (beyond the storm) and an obvious warm-heart, this adds up to a read that should appeal to most.