This review was originally published in print in Transitions magazine…
I was turned on to Dr. Henry Cloud’s material through his first book Boundaries, which he co-authored with John Townsend. At about the same time his book was recommended to me by both Dave Ramsey and a family member. Shortly after that a small success group that meets in my office once a week voted to do the next study on Boundaries, which included the book, DVD lessons, and a workbook. It was a great study and we all learned a lot.
This review isn’t about Boundaries though, even though the material would make for a great review. I’m telling you about it because, as a first introduction to Cloud’s material, I was impressed. Dr. Cloud is primarily a clinical psychologist. Now I’m not sure about your experiences with psychologists. I’ve never personally partaken of psychology services although I’ve worked with many of them over the years in my own counseling work. The perception of them as a whole in the industry is that they’re detached from reality. Sure, they can get inside your head and help in that way, but many of them don’t seem to really get it, or at least they don’t translate it well to us in the real world. In other words, “please tell me how you feel” or “it’s all your mother’s fault” doesn’t always help very much. Dr. Cloud is just the opposite.
There are two primary reasons I enjoy his work so much. Number one is that he translates clinical psychology and the interrelated concepts into laymen’s terms in such a great way that it’s actually helpful. if you read one of his book’s you know that you’ll walk away after finishing it much smarter and better equipped than by forcing your way through the average psychology book. In other words, if you’re trying to self-medicate psychologically speaking, his stuff is awesome and should either help you or lead you to a better understanding of your problems before you seek further personal professional help. Secondly, his works always seem to come to me in a time of need. I confidently count that as God filling a need in my life with a resource that is both relevant and Biblical. Theologically speaking, one would call it Providence.
When I received the book Necessary Endings from Dr. Cloud’s agent, it arrived at the perfect time. I’m at a point in my life where there are relationships, projects, and other things that I need to end. They’re not necessarily bad or hurtful (although some are), but I need to end them in order to grow, make room for new opportunities, or help other people grow. One of the biggest endings I need to make is a very personal one, and, with the mood I was in when the book arrived, I almost had an emotional fit. Have you ever had one of those experiences where you want to cry, praise God, scream, and cuss all at the same time? It’s like a huge emotional dumping. That’s how I felt when I read the material that arrived with the book. Now I’m delving through the book and have several pages of notes made already.
So, the book is all about ending the things in your life that aren’t helping you or others by keeping them around. It applies to business, work, family, and interpersonal relationships. I guarantee that if you read the book you’ll find places in your life where there is room for growth. Buy it and read it slow to take it all in.
For Dr. Cloud’s works…