Dare to be Seen – Book Review

Elisa Di Napoli is an integrative hypnotherapist and life coach who has taken the psychological principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Positive Exposure Therapy, the LAMA Method (Let go And Move Ahead), and combined them with other theories and techniques to create a powerful course in overcoming performance anxiety. Her method uses self-hypnosis, and while this may sound a little like hocus pocus, it is based on scientific understandings of the human brain and how it works. If you’ve ever gone to a therapist, you will recognize a lot of what she says. The difference is most therapists will use these techniques without explaining what they are or how they work. Instead of reiterating the same old psychological catch phrases we hear in pop psychology every day (“Face your fears”, “Be here now”, “Let it go”, “I’m okay, you’re okay”, “Grant me the power to accept the things I cannot change”, etc.), Di Napoli explains the mechanics behind those catch phrases so that they regain their power.

For instance, she explains that Anxiety is a coping mechanism, a habit fed by insecurity and self distrust. I had never thought of anxiety in quite that way before, but if you think about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (which is an Anxiety Disorder), it is exactly that – an attempt to control the uncontrollable, a habit that has formed in the face of worry, built on a distrust in ourselves to handle whatever comes our way. Di Napoli explains how to use self-hypnosis to change your perspective and trust yourself to be okay no matter what happens.

In talking about “Rewinding” she explains how PTSD (post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is an extreme form of pattern matching (the basis for human learning), and how to release the “stuck” trauma from the Amygdala (the alarm system of the brain) so that similar stimuli is no longer a trigger. To do this, you must detach from the source trauma. This moves the memory out of the Amygdala and transforms it into a narrative. This is how EMDR works (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a technique that has gained popularity in PTSD treatment in recent years.

Dare to be Seen is filled with examples, exercises, and valuable information. Di Napoli talks about the use of Hypnotic Anchors (like a talisman or a sigil), and how neuropathways in the brain are strengthened according to what we focus on (where attention goes, energy flows). This is very much akin to The Secret and the Power of Attraction, and the lesser known teachings of Abraham Hicks. She talks about Mindfulness and cognitive distortions and how our past experiences shape how we behave. She talks about Behavioral Rehearsals (similar to the “Act as If” method used by psychologists).

Anyone determined to overcome not only performance anxiety, but any kind of anxiety or trauma, can benefit from this book. 

Learn more about the author, and see my review and a synopsis of the book at Reedsy.com

“Beautiful You” Review

I hate that I am giving 2 stars to a Chuck Palahniuk book. I have read ten of his novels and several of his short stories. I’m even one of the backers on the upcoming movie adaption of “Lullaby” – that’s how much of a fan I am. I love his humor and his imagination. I love his fearlessness in writing what he wants to write and saying it the way he wants to say it, regardless of who he might offend. He is not for the faint of heart, and I generally feel you either love him or hate him. And I do love him. But I did not love this book. I might have loved it, had it been a short story or even a novella. It’s not that the idea of the book was bad. It was imaginative and funny and unique. It was bold and daring and shocking. All the qualities you look for in a Palahniuk book. But this 220-page book dragged on and on. I couldn’t wait to be done with it. It truly saddens me to say that, but the fact is, I wouldn’t have given this book the time needed to finish it at all if it were written by someone else. That’s how much I love Chuck.

I often judge a book by how many lines I’ve highlighted or copied into a notebook. These are the lines that are so well written I want to be able to quickly revisit them. Lines that make me think. Lines that are beautifully crafted and force you to go deeper into the larger meaning of the story. I got none of these lines in this book.

Like I said, I may have loved it if it hadn’t been dragged out so much, if it had been edited to a much shorter length. It might have carried some power then, if the shock value hadn’t gotten old less than half way through. As it is, this is not a book I would recommend, even to a Palahniuk fan like myself. Sorry, Chuck, but you really can do better.