I love that I live in a day and age where anxiety/OCD treatment and recovery isn’t so black and white.
Professionals are thinking outside of the box to find new ways to help people who may be reluctant to seek in-office treatment or who may not have the resources or time available to spend as much time with a doctor or therapist as they would like.
Professional help will always be the preferred method of treatment of course, but self-help is the next best thing. It is how I have made the progress I have made in my own recovery and I am always on the lookout for any book, product, or program that I think other anxiety/OCD “self-helpers” might find useful.
I was glad to hear about The OCD Coloring Book Journal, by Tammy LaBrake, LCSW-R.
I have a very special place in my heart for coloring as a therapeutic tool, and since so many of my readers have OCD that co-exists with their anxiety disorders, as I do, I thought this book would be great to consider for a review. Tammy was kind enough to send me a copy to check out and use first hand and it took me all of about 60 seconds of thumbing through it to know I loved it and would definitely be writing up a positive review on it.
Inside, this book combines my favorite things – coloring, journaling, and learning to look at something in a new and easy way.
There are 14 different OCD related “lessons”. Each lesson is brief, but very well written. The lessons are light, and use analogies or simple, straightforward talk to encourage you to look at your OCD differently…in a healthier way. I love that it is not “heavy” dialogue. It is very simple and doesn’t tax your brain. (Those of us with OCD don’t need our brain taxed any more than it already is, I think we can all agree on that.)
In my opinion, Tammy really did a great job of setting the right tone for this book and I think what she has to say is spot on. She “gets” OCD, that is obvious, and I think she is going to help a lot of other people “get it” too with this book.
After reading each lesson, there are a few associated “journaling” pages to help you process and work through what you have just read. I would recommend taking at least a few days to work with the journaling pages to really help you gain an understanding of your thoughts and how your current feelings and behaviors relate to what you have just learned, and also to work with the suggested strategies that Tammy provides.
I found this journaling/reflecting section to be very helpful. I love the questions she asks…they really got me thinking, and I especially love how this book encourages you to think of yourself as strong. I am not a fan of books that encourage a victim mentality and focus on the challenges of living with OCD and anxiety. I think we have pretty much covered that in our own minds well enough without reading a book about it.
Tammy writes in my preferred kind of style which is: focus on your strengths, pull yourself up straight and strong and show your OCD who is boss. That is what we need to be hearing! That is what we need to be exposing ourselves too! I am such a big believer in using your inner strength and body language to stand up to your self doubts and show them who is boss and Tammy is pushing for that as well. She does a great coaching job and that is what those of us with OCD and anxiety need…..a good coach.
After you complete the journaling section of each lesson, there is a coloring page to complete that is associated with that lesson.
This is when you get to take a break and let your mind naturally absorb all of the new information you have taken in. You get to relax and enjoy coloring, while you are subconsciously reinforcing these new thoughts and ideas Tammy has introduced to you.
In addition, at the back of the book there are some great positive affirmations to trace and/or color in, and I am a huge, HUGE fan of affirmations so I cannot say enough how cool I think that is.
The tiered 3-part method of learning is another of my favorite things about this book. It is:
- Learn – Read what the author is saying to you – take it all in.
- Use – Apply what you have just learned to your own situation and use it to understand yourself a little better and develop a game plan.
- Reinforce – Lock this all in with calm, repetitive action that keeps you exposed to these new ideas in a way that doesn’t mentally fatigue you.
Not only am I a fan of this 3 part method of learning, but I also love that The OCD Coloring Book Journal is put together in such a way that the reader feels in control of it. You can work with it at your own pace in whatever time frame is comfortable to you. If one section requires more reflection or is a particularly challenging idea to wrap your head around, then you can take all the time you need without feeling like you are going to “un-do” everything else you learned. There are no rigid plans to follow or fall behind on so there is no pressure involved when working with this book.
As far as construction, The OCD Coloring Book Journal is very well put together. It is not flimsy and the pages have a nice thickness to them. This coloring book feels like a quality book, not a cheap throw-together as some coloring books can seem. The binding is strong and the cover is nice and sturdy – the way paperback covers used to be before companies started making everything thinner and thinner, so that is a definite plus.
I am absolutely going to recommend The OCD Coloring Book Journal to my readers with OCD.
For beginners it is a great way to get the basics on OCD and learn the “ground rules” for how to interact with it in a healthy way. And for the OCD “veterans” out there, I believe it can help reinforce that which you have already learned since your diagnosis, and it can be a really good “relapse tool”.
It really is a bit of a little gem in the OCD book world and I wish it had been around when my disorder first erupted. But even though the worst of my OCD days are behind me at this point, I still very much look forward to completing this book. I believe there is never a time when you can consider yourself “done” with your anxiety or OCD recovery. I will continue to look for and read and work with books like this for the rest of my life and I encourage all my readers to do the same. It is important to never stop trying to learn and to never stop trying to grow into a mentally healthier person. And if you can find a nice, light, fun book like this to learn with, so much the better!
This book is available through Amazon for $14.22. There is also a “coloring book only” version of this book, minus the journal, for 9.99.
Tammy LaBrake is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker whose website OCDStrategies.com offers information and support for those living with OCD, including a company video series to accompany The OCD Coloring Book Journal.
*TheWorryGames.com is an Amazon Affiliate
*This review was not written with the condition of receiving payment or compensation.