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Book Review: A Trio of Books

A trio of books by Barbara Small, MA on subjects near and dear to the hearts of disregulated eaters—assertiveness, effective communication and self-talk—belong up there on your bookshelf. Small, a reformed overeater and “nice girl,” counselor, and life coach from Victoria, BC, has lots of insightful and instructive things to say about how to get your head on straight, get out of behavioral ruts, and speak your needs.

In WHAT ABOUT ME, WHAT DO I WANT: BECOMING ASSERTIVE she focuses on how to get what you want in life. Starting off with communication styles, she moves on to discuss how we learn to communicate poorly and how to use cognitive restructuring to turn around your thinking with hands-on suggestions to become more assertive. The book is filled with self-assessment exercises, practical advice, and humor. In fact, it’s a mini-workbook written in clear, cogent language that teaches you exactly what you need to know to stand up for yourself.

In BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, CHANGING YOUR NEGATIVE SELF-TALK (gotta love the title!), Small tackles the bane of our existence: the hurtful, foolish, inaccurate things we tell ourselves that hold us back. She points out how these thoughts continually distort our perceptions and convince us that belief is truth, and shows how negative self-talk impacts self-esteem, addiction, and stress management. Not only does Small explain the different types of harmful self-talk, she provides a step-by-step approach for changing it. She really makes it easy to do!

Her third title, IF I COULD JUST GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD: A NO-NONSENSE GUIDE TO COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY, explains where we go wrong in communicating and how we can improve, offering specific examples as well as assessment and learning exercises. She covers reacting versus responding, active listening, speaking effectively, non-verbal communication, and reframing beliefs, all in easy-to-understand language. Moreover, she includes a section on roadblocks and a trouble-shooting guide that covers pretty much all the problems you’ll run into as you attempt to improve your communication skills.

Small’s books teach must-have life skills to disregulated eaters in a palatable way to aid recovery from food problems and to build a satisfying, authentic, successful life. Although there is overlap among them, these books are short and to the point, so I highly suggest you read all three. Find out more at