The Tools by Phil Stutz & Barry Michels

Not another self help book I hear you groan, promising to cure all our mental ailments with some new thought up radical ideology that basically amounts to good old commonsense. Well this one does tackle a different problem from another perception; that being that we patients have a huge gripe about therapy, in particular, the time it takes for change to occur. This is supposedly because traditional therapeutic models set their sights on the past, but in The Tools, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels employ an arsenal of techniques that allow patients to use their problems as levers to access the power of the unconscious and propel them into action. Suddenly, through this transformative approach, obstacles become opportunities – to find courage, embrace discipline, develop self-expression, deepen creativity. For years, Stutz and Michels taught these techniques only to their patients, but now that they have decided to write The Tools, their revolutionary and empowering ideas are available to every reader interested in realizing the full range of their potential. The authors’ of The Tools want nothing less than for your life to become exceptional – exceptional in its resiliency, in its experience of real happiness, and in its understanding of the human spirit. So what are The Tools that they speak of? There are five of them:


The first of The Tools for when you need to take action on what you have been avoiding. We avoid doing the things that are most painful for us but the more you act and face the pain, the more options come your way. The reversal of desire teaches you how to master the things you are avoiding and live in forward motion.


The second of The Tools for when you are so enraged with a person that the anger traps you in a maze. You replay the bad situation or fantasize about revenge, which only isolates you while the world moves forward without you. Active love frees you from being ruled by rage and grudges.


The third of The Tools for when insecurity or your “shadow” (an embodiment of everything you wish you were not) keeps you from expressing yourself. Embracing your shadow saves you the energy of hiding it and allows you the release and freedom to be your natural self. inner authority puts you in touch with your shadow and helps you find your voice.


The fourth of The Tools for when you are filled with worried, anxiety, and negativity. Negative thought limits you. It causes you to miss what is happening around you whereas gratefulness grounds you in the present and connects you to all that is open and available in life. Grateful flow stops obsessive worrying and negative thinking.


Everyone is tempted to quit using the Tools, but quitting will only stop your progress and destory all the gains you’ve made. This Tool insures that you’ll use the other four of the Tools for the rest of your life. It makes you appreciate that every moment of your life matters. Jeopardy reminds you to make the most of every minute.

To give you more insight into The Tools, here is a short excerpt from Phil & Barry’s blog.

“What is a tool? In conventional psychotherapy, we talk about “insights” or “causation” and we tend to believe that if we can uncover the deep-seated reasons behind someone’s problems then the person will change automatically. This implies that awareness alone creates the forces that cause change. But real change, the kind of change my patients were crying out for, means changing your behavior, not just your attitude. That requires much stronger forces. A tool is a technique or procedure that can generate these forces. It allows you to do the work of change. It is work that must be done in real time. When do we use a tool? In the present. Conventional therapy tends to be passive and focuses on the past. It excavates a patient’s history, usually from childhood, brings it into the light of day and interprets it so as to strip it of its unconscious power. I have the greatest respect for the past. Memories, emotions, insights can all be very valuable. But my patients needed help and relief in the present and all the insights in the world weren’t going to be powerful enough to deliver that. To control your actions you need something else: a specific procedure you can use systematically to combat a specific problem — you need a tool.”

“The Tools” is available on Amazon.

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