I have to confess that when life gets stressful I don’t always follow the sound advice that I give to clients.  The Pocket Therapist by Therese BorchardWhen the going gets tough, I get to the nearest Godiva store.  Godiva truffles are my own personal therapy in a box.  I love the sweet and sometimes bitter richness of the chocolate and the plethora of fillings, each one offering me a different kind of comfort.  I especially love getting just the right variety in a box that whatever my mood, whatever specific chocolate fix I am craving, I can rest assured that somewhere in that box will be the answer.  That is exactly how I felt reading Therese Borchard’s latest book, The Pocket Therapist.   It is a perfect compilation of witty, thoughtful, scientific, and personal anecdotes and I can assure you that the answer to whatever emotional crisis ails you can mostly likely be found between its pages.  Offered in bite-size chapters, each no more than a page or two, this book is a guide to improving and protecting your mental health.

Therese is not a professional in the mental health field but her years in and out of various treatments and personal experience battling depression, anxiety, and a variety of other issues make her the best kind of expert… one who understands.  In each of the 144 “chapters” you can find the voice of someone who gets it.  Someone who recognizes that the challenges of maintaining a sense of balance and calm in this world is overwhelming for most of us and can feel nearly impossible for those of us struggling with mental illness.  Therese offers you her hand, and her wisdom, in this comforting book of advice and insight.    It is the author’s own psychological frailties that make this book so wonderful.  While the tips she offers are not always based in a particular theory or the latest research trends, they are no less valuable or meaningful in the quest to maintain your own mental health.  In a particularly insightful chapter on honoring your neuroses , Therese quotes Buddhist nun Pema Chodron:

“… our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness.”

And so it is with this gem of a book.  The Pocket Therapist will not cure your depression and cannot serve as a substitute for qualified mental health care.  It can however offer its readers a much needed dose of hope and solace in the midst of whatever challenge life has thrown their way.  As Therese so eloquently puts it, “don’t go to a hardware store for tomatoes.”  This book will not save your marriage, help your son get sober, or eliminate your need for Prozac; that’s what life-sized therapists are for.    It can however make facing those challenges (and many others) just a little bit easier.

About the author: Therese Borchard is the author of the hit daily blog “Beyond Blue” on Beliefnet.com, which is featured weekly on The Huffington Post and was voted by PsychCentral.com as one of the top 10 depression blogs. She has just published her memoir, Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes, in addition to The Pocket Therapist.