Review: Shortcuts to Mindfulness by Catherine Auman, LMFT

Catherine Auman follows my Instagram @therapybooknook, and she sent me this book for my review. Auman calls herself a “spiritual psychotherapist” and is trained in Transpersonal Psychology. She also lived in India for a time, studying tantra. My only real issue with this book is the title; I was expecting more instructions on mindfulness, how to do it and such. Although mindfulness is developed by paying attention, there is very little in this book that is directly related to mindfulness itself. Instead, I like the subtitle, which I think conveys better what the book is about: 100 Ways to Personal and Spiritual Growth.

This book is made up of 100 short two-page chapters that cover pretty much everything you can think of that would relate to personal growth. I love the format, because it is one of those books you can read cover to cover, or just pick up when you have 5 minutes and read one random 2-page chapter. She covers everything from breathwork, depression and anxiety (and supplements that might help both), forgiveness, self-esteem, sex…the list goes on. For therapists, I think it’s a nice little book if you have a break between sessions to just open up and get a little nugget of inspiration.

There are two chapters I particularly liked. Auman confronts the popular myth that “you have to love yourself before you can love others”. This rarely questioned saying is just not true – we learn through relationships and we are wired to be interdependent. She also talks about “premature” forgiveness, which I love. I find that a lot of my (especially Christian) clients move to forgiveness right away because they think they should – which Auman says is “as helpful as putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm”. I love this, and I’m going to steal it and use it!

Speaking of Christian clients, I’m not sure this book is totally accessible for more conservative Christians, although they might not pick up a book about mindfulness anyway. I agree with everything Auman says, but talking about the “yin and yang” of sex (for example), might be problematic for readers who don’t come from, or aren’t familiar with, that philosophy.

Overall, though, I loved the book and will definitely be keeping it on my shelf at the office for reference! It’s out now and can be ordered at the link below.

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