Book review: All in the mind- Dr. Brian Roet


Disclaimer: All the copyrights belong to the respective author/s of the book. The purpose of the book summary and review is to promote the book and share some of the great points from the work.

Cool Bluez Rating (7/10)

A book that reveals and deals with long term psychological problems, our contribution towards our own problems and focuses on the need to recognise and resolve symptoms that may be indication of stress or long term problems. It quotes interesting examples to illustrate what might be the consequences of ignoring our mind and not giving it proper attention that it needs. The book also features various relaxation techniques.

Selected points from the book:

Maintenance of the problem is often related to our attempts to solve it.

What we are doing to overcome the difficulty is actually the case of its continuation.

Seeking means to have a goal, but finding means to be free to be receptive, to have no goal.

In striving towards your goal you do not see many things that are under your nose.

The chronic problem has 2 components; the problem itself and the person involved.

Attitude may be a major factor in the situation- overprotective spouses, guilty parents, fear of success, fear of failure, all need to be understood to help get the person involved out of a quagmire and back on solid ground.

In time a long term problem becomes part of the person possessing it- and involved in every thought, feeling, work, relationship, benefit and punishment.

The longer the problem, the more difficult it is for the person to be without it.

“It is more important to know what sort of a person has a disease than to know what sort of a disease a person has”- Hippocrates.

Some understanding or acceptance of the situation might allow resolution to occur and would certainly save a lot of wasted energy.

It is important to recognise who has the problem 


View the situation from a distance rather than being engulfed by it.

Being fixed, inflexible and unable to incorporate new opinions will ensure the merry go-round continues.

If instead of trying to solve the problem and remove it, we ask ourselves ‘what does it mean? What message is involved, what can I learn from it?’. We will follow a completely different pathway, often with pleasantly surprising results.

Denial of the problem may in fact be the real problem.

Many people in unpleasant circumstances continually talk about how difficult things are but never do anything about it.

A wise therapist once said that the first step in any attempt to be of use was ‘to be where the patient is. Start with his attitudes and beliefs and gradually lead him in a more beneficial direction from his starting point, not yours’.

Patients with long term problems; resist any excess pressure so that anyone offering help needs to be gentle, supporting and have untiring patientce while gradually offering alternative choices.

The lack of understanding, whether be real or imagined, can cause immense problems.

Most chronic sufferers feel angry, often with good reason.

The false underlying belief that there must be an answer, a solution, a cure, causes much anger when this is not achieved.

If you have a long term problem, it is likely that you are unconsciously playing a major role in maintaining your problem.

Understanding yourself-attitudes, beliefs, feelings will allow you to be in a better position to deal with your problem.

Recognize that your energy may have been drained by the long term condition you have.

So many people complaining about difficulties are not able to learn from positive experiences. They ignore, deny or misread anything good that happens to them:

“It was just a coincidence” , “I only won because everyone else was no good”, “I only got the job because they liked my suit”.

By standing still as time moves on you are actually drifting backwards.

Symptoms may appear when the restrictions become too restricting and the limitations too limiting.

It is possible that the symptom you now have is the best possible choice for the present time.

Check if your symptom is helping you avoid something or if you are gaining in some way from it; what can you learn from it?

Most people hold beliefs to steer them through life’s challenges. Often these beliefs are out of date, inaccurate and restricting.

We can change the way we feel by changing the way we look at the things even if situation remains the same.

One specific area of restrictive thinking is formed by linking-connecting two facts with an apparent reason. Life isn’t simple and simple explanations are generally brief, easy and wrong.

How do we have any idea how other people will think? The truth is- we don’t and never will. Even if we ask they are unlikely to reply honestly. To be continually concerned about what other people think is a dangerous and destructive game with no basis of confirmation. Most people don’t care and are too involved with their own problems to be overly concerned with what you say or how you act.

When people challenge and disregard their restrictive beliefs they often feel physically different as well as happier and more successful.

Are you a ‘mind reader’? Is it helpful or restrictive?

Telling ourselves we cannot do something is equivalent to being unable to do it.

Chronic problems; the longer it continues, the more strongly negative self talk becomes.

Instead of allowing the past event to drift into the past where it belongs, we continue to carry it with us, reducing our confidence and positive attitude towards situation.

Whenever the word ‘can’t ‘crops up replace it with ‘it will be difficult to’.

By bringing your mental messages into your consciousness you can become aware of what you are telling yourself. It is possible that much of what you say is unsuitable for your present objectives and that by assessing and analyzing it you can improve its content.

Negative self talk often achieves the opposite of what is intended.

The most important words you will ever hear are those that you tell yourself.

Learn to listen to (and be aware of) your internal language.

Note negative self talk occurring in the form of criticism, doubt or self-fulfilling prophecies.

We behave according to some previous command or direction called imprinting. Imprinting requires 3 factors; 1. Person under stress-frightened nervous, tense. 2. Another person of authority with a dominant attitude. 3. A command or prediction made by the authoritarian figure.

Negative statements by surgeons during operations have had far-reaching effects on patients. These statements have been recalled under hypnosis in order to discover the cause of a problem.

Depressed people often have expressionless face, minimal and slow movements, low voice and negative, poor sleep, no interest or enthusiasm and are understandably pessimistic about most things.

Keeping emotions under control is often a waste of energy. Not accepting a feeling and ‘keeping the lid on it’ requires a lot of power. As time goes by and more ingredients are added to the pressure cooker, more energy is required to keep the lid on. Learning to feel free to accept and express emotions releases this power.

Frightened person will inevitably anticipate the worst.

Underlying fear can be so great that any logic is completely overlooked.

By feeling guilty we unconsciously create self punishment leading to loss of self confidence.

Observing juvenile experiences from adult point of view may allow us to minimize or remove the unnecessary guilt that been dogging our heels for years.

In childhood being made to feel guilty is a powerful weapon of parental control. “Eat up your dinner like a good boy”- inferring that you are bad if you don’t.

As children are dependent and need love, they respond by trying to please.

If the action is unsuitable, it is possible to leave the child’s character uncriticized and comment only on the deed.

We all need to be loved. The person who believes he is bad has an even greater need to be loved but at the same time rejects it on the basis he is unlovable.

Check how often you use criticism as a means of expressing a difference.

Differentiate between the ‘action’ and the ‘person’.

If the psychological component of the condition is ignored and all the efforts of the patient and doctor are concentrated on the ‘symptom’ , the merry go round continues.

The unrest doctors feel due to their own circumstances is easily transferred to the patients.

“Being understood is similar to being loved”.

If you do not understand yourself, you will not be able to understand and help others.

Long term sufferers feel isolated.

People will only express their needs when they realize their listener is receptive and that takes time.

Affirmation of a person is very necessary component of understanding, no criticism, no judgment but an acceptance of the complete person.

People with chronic problems need to be understood both by themselves and at least some other person.

Find someone whom you trust and can share your problem with. As you gain confidence in their ability to understand allow more and more of your inner feelings and thoughts to be expressed.

If the doctor and the patient agree to avoid anything that is psychological, they are agreeing to maintain the problem.

Although your problems may be expressed as a physical one, recognize that psychological factors may be playing a major role in its maintenance. Note the effects on your confidence, attitudes and optimism.

Write down an unresolved situation which has been present for some time. Make a list of different levels that may be involved in preventing resolution. Focus your attention on one level that you can do something about and do it.

Anticipators often miss out on the present by their future fantasy life.

If you waste energy blaming past events for present day problems, progress in all areas of your life will be minimal.

Understanding your own and your partner’s and colleagues’ internal clocks and accepting them may prevent a great deal of conflict.

Some children are slow learners, but become mathematical wizards in later life; some babies don’t walk until they are two, but are competing in marathons in their teens. Accepting and making allowances for such differences in timing, both in ourselves and others, gives individual potential the best circumstances in which to develop.

You live in the present; assess how much of you is involved in the past or future.

Allow time for yourself as it will provide abilities to spend time on other things.

If you are unaware of your feelings you limit your resources dramatically.

Some people have stored so many negative emotions in their bodies for so long they have turned ‘sour’ like the soil around the septic tank. They are constantly unhappy, pessimistic and resistant to any advice.

We recall memories when we see, hear or smell something that was associated with them. The good feeling and smell have been anchored together so that the emotion is reawakened by encountering the smell many years later.

For anchoring to be successful; 1. Create as many positive feelings as possible. 2. Each time one is remembered, ‘anchor’ it to a physical action in the present. 3. ‘trigger’ the positive feeling by repeating the physical action.

By going ‘into this feeling’ it may be possible to discover its origins, associated memories and the actual message intended. Often the analysis of the emotion releases a part of it and allows calmness to replace it.

Accepting the feeling, owning it and not experiencing bad, mad or guilty feelings about it, is a major step in the right direction whatever the emotion is.

To restore internal calm, it is necessary to express the emotion you are feeling. Look for a way out; if not acknowledged it may track in destructive directions seeking that outlet.

Learn to understand and translate correctly whatever feelings you find unpleasant.

When we try to force ourself to change, the protective part that has been in control for years, takes over and gives us a panic feeling.

You may find your problem easier to deal with by thinking ‘part of me’ is frightened , angry, lonely, guilty and so on.

The character ‘real me’ is often sensitive, lacking in confidence and easily hurt. It needs support and encouragement but is often dismissed in order to portray the character required for the present.

Accept the concept of an inner person. You will soon learn to distinguish between what is best for you and doing things to please others.

When you and the ‘inner me’ come close together you will feel good. Doubts and conflicts will lessen.

As you go ‘inside’ you can translate feelings into pictures. This is done passively by allowing things to develop and following the pictures where they lead you. It is done by sitting quietly with eyes closed, facilitator gently and slowly guides the person to go inside and focus on the part of the body where the feeling is assumed to be, no logical assessment or judgment is allowed to dilute the experience, pictures are allowed to have their own form and may be related to past experiences or memories, whatever occurs in pictures is respected and treated as real, the person can talk to any animal or person who occurs in the picture and learn why they are there, when they started and what they are trying to achieve, this process may continue for 10-20 minutes and be repeated daily so a pattern will be seen to evolve.

Consider some of your actions, attitudes or emotions as if they are coming from the child within.

Start your morning and going through your day slowly noticing the good things that have happened. Pass over and ignore things that were not positive.

Are you focusing on the gold specks or the dirt?

Helpful hints; Increasing your choices is one way of improving your situation, you often create your own limitations and so reduce the number of choices available, alter your attitude to your problem by viewing it positively, learn to recognize beneficial effects of humor.

When taking the responsibility for a change in your situation, choose a very small part of the problem you wish to alter, don’t attempt anything too mammoth or disappointment will inevitably ensue.

Chronic problems generally persist because that road has already been tried and failed. In spite of loud laments many problems are maintained by trying short cuts, wasting energy unnecessarily, not taking responsibility, misinterpreting messages and the many other cogs in the carousel.

If in a losing game, you learn-then you have won, as there will be many games ahead of you.

In the quest for a solution, the one unknown factor is time. No one can accurately predict when a chronic problem will be resolved.

Taking responsibility means accepting the problem as yours and that you will do everything in your power to deal with it.

Choose one aspect of your problem a small aspect and regard it as a difficult game that you wish to win.

Build up positive resources needed to improve your position in the game.

Recognize that your problem is only a part of your life; don’t let it take over completely.

Some people have forty years of experience. Others have one year of experience forty times.

Symptoms are generally the result of problems and not the problems themselves.

People cannot make you do, feel or act in any other way than the way you allow them. Instead of ‘he makes me angry’ it is ‘I allow him to make me angry’.

A need to control often leads to situations where we are out of control.

Add fun as a companion to your journey through your life. The tasks are much lighter and the journey much easier.

Accept yourself as you are (for the time being) for when we criticise, blame or judge ourselves, we colour the way we view the world.

The page is a part of Cool Bluez (2011)