In this age of “fake facts” and “alternate truths,” there are those who take comfort in the idea that there’s a body of absolute truths to trust. These readers should eagerly embrace Dr. R. Duncan Wallace’s The Book of Psychological Truths.
Revised from an earlier version, Wallace’s book is based on observations made during 48 years of his psychiatric career. Additionally, he notes, “I tested the validity of these truths for thirteen years in a weekly think tank of professionals and laypeople.”
His titular “truths” refer to patterns for dealing with life’s uncertainties that produce concrete beneficial effects. For example, while clinging to illogical thinking when faced with personal trials produces negative results, challenging this thinking tends to produce the opposite. Similarly, given a situation that produces anxiety— such as relocating due to a sudden job transfer—doing something proactive to allay these fears, (seeking more information about the new work environment, finding neighborhood resources, etc.) creates a pattern, and new mindset, that’s beneficial.
Such tactics, he adds, can be reinforced with tools that favor positive thinking, such as affirmations or choice of vocabulary.
Readers familiar with cognitive therapy approaches will recognize many of Wallace’s truths, as will regular readers of self-help books. But the author illustrates his concepts with many stories from his clinical practice and adds credence to his work by quoting peers and providing extensive end notes and an excellent index.
Some readers may be left pondering the “elephant in the room”: Why, given that so many of his truths could apply to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is there no mention of this cataclysmic event? It feels like a missed opportunity to reinforce his advice and make the book even more relevant.
Despite this omission, The Book of Psychological Truths is a helpful resource for readers already practicing these truths, as well as those willing to entertain new ways of thinking.
Also available in hardcover.