Detoxing Negative Thoughts

Kathryn Stamoulis

Kathryn Stamoulis

Kathryn Stamoulis, PhD
Associate Editor

Review of Book O’Gorman, P. A. (2014). The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox. Health Communications Inc., $12.95.

Many people are weighed down with negative thinking, “the shoulds,” “the oughts,” and “the musts.” For women there is much noise out there that contributes to their having many “shoulds,” “oughts,” and “musts” thoughts. Advertising sells the ideal image of female beauty. The media constantly asks “can women have it all?” Women get the message they “should” be sweet and accommodating, they “ought” to always look their best and “must” put others before themselves. These stereotypes can become internalized, possibly leading to self-doubt, shame and low confidence.

In her new book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox, Patricia A. O’Gorman aims to help readers reject and counter negative self-talk that many women are conditioned to believe is normal. It aims to silence “the inner critic” in 10 days. Patricia O’Gorman is a member of Society of Media Psychology and Technology and a clinical psychologist in private practice. Three of her nine books have focused specifically on empowering women.

The book is an easy read with little use of psychological jargon. The book’s attractive title and bright purple cover, featuring a cartoon-woman, implicitly informs prospective readers that the book is an introduction to cognitive therapy in non-technical language. It argues many of the “girly thoughts” women have are due to disempowering social forces, and thus are problems many women face. These toxic thoughts are widespread and not specific to few women. It guides women through identifying negative thoughts, many of which are propagated by the media, such as “I hate my body because I don’t look like a model or actress.” It then gives readers tools to challenge those thoughts. The book also subtly, albeit implicitly, integrates elements of the feminist theory of counseling with cognitive therapy.

While the book tends to generalize the female experience, for example “we want so much to be loved and cherished,” it can serve as a helpful resource to many. The book is ideal for women with little background in psychology, the avid self-help readers, women who are in therapy for help with negative thinking, and possibly those who can’t or do not want to seek therapy. Overall, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox is a breezy introduction to the power of self-talk, but clearly its usefulness to women will depend upon their practicing the strategies recommended in the book over time and not just for 10 days.

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