As I caught up with the news this morning I saw that Prof Steve Peters was appearing on BBC Breakfast talking about The Chimp Paradox. As this is a book I have found to be very useful in my life both personally and in a work context I realised that perhaps I could share some of my positive thoughts around it.
The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters a book review
As a clinical Hypnotherapist I spend a good deal of time helping my clients to think about new ways to look at things that happen in their lives and alternative ways to deal with those occurrences.
I use many examples of things that happen in my own life to illustrate what can happen and make those things seem easy to understand. Having an eleven year old often means that things that happen with us can make a great story and the way that a child sees the world is very different from the way that we so called “grown ups” do.
Dr. Steve Peters’ book The Chimp Paradox – The Mind Management programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness is a fascinating read and helps open up the mind to a different way of thinking.
The simple version of what this book does is give a way to see how we react to what happens in our lives and demonstrate that in many ways our adverse reactions to things are not our fault because there is a part of us which he calls “the chimp” which does not take time to look at the facts and works only on an initial emotional response. Once we become aware of the chimp and the role it plays then we can start to understand why we do the things we do, and more importantly we can learn to tame it somewhat and treat it in a way that shows we understand it. Then it can let off steam when it needs to and our Human side can take over and ensure that the more rational part of us, the part that is sensible and respectful, can be in charge when it needs to be.
Through this simple analogy the book explores many more complex parts of our whole and how the interaction of those parts causes us to live the lives we do and behave in the ways that we do. Along with exercises that can be performed and more complex understanding of our thought pattern we can see how we can change.
If I find a book that is useful I will often recommend it to other therapists and also sometimes to clients. In the case of this book I would, and have been heartily recommend it to both clients and peers.
I love being able to talk about things that have happened in my life in order to show real stories and as a hypnotherapist I am very aware of Milton Erickson who built his career and teaching on stories and examples and whose influence looms very large over hypnotherapy still. This book is such that anyone taking it away will be able to understand exactly where it is coming from. I would like to think that I am well aware of how my thoughts influence my life, this didn’t mean that I wasn’t able to benefit greatly from reading The Chimp Paradox.
Steve Peters' book really does have a simple way to understand that you can take back some control. Once you realise why you did not have that control you can start to take the steps that you need to tame that chimp and even if you sometimes struggle to be in control, you can understand why that is and move away from beating yourself up about it.
I heartily recommend this book. It isn’t something that you really need to read in order to make your life better. It will make you think about things in a different way even if you feel that you already have the control over the parts of you that you may not feel you always control. Even if you feel that you control your own chimp reading the examples and stories will entertain and inform you.