Cover image for Do one thing different : and other uncommonly sensible solutions to life's persistent problems
Do one thing different : and other uncommonly sensible solutions to life's persistent problems
O'Hanlon, Bill, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 209 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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BF449 .O43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BF449 .O43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



From the author of Love Is a Verb--who's also one of the developers of brief-solution therapy--comes a helpful and humorous approach to life's everyday troubles.

Author Notes

Bill O'Hanlon is a certified professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. As one of the developers of solution-oriented therapy and the founder of possibility and inclusive therapies, he has conducted more than six hundred therapy seminars worldwide and has presented his work at national psychotherapy conferences. He lives with his wife in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The theory behind the title of this book is solution-oriented therapy. Rather than probing the past and analyzing causes and effects of psychological problems and troubles, therapist O'Hanlon advises making changes in behavior in the present in order to feel better sooner rather than later. Using 10 "solution keys," he challenges readers to focus on the here and now and adjust behavior to change the situation. The author uses plenty of examples to show solution-oriented therapy in action. There is something to be said for taking action in times of trouble rather than wallowing in the many negative feelings that arise. One caveat: This shouldn't be taken alone as a prescription for those suffering from deep clinical depression or other major psychological disorders. Those persons need to seek help from professionals. --Marlene Chamberlain

Publisher's Weekly Review

Blithely repackaging traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy, certified counselor O'Hanlon (Love Is a Verb, etc.) justifies his "solution-oriented therapy" with numerous self-aggrandizing case examples but no empirical research. He advises readers to look to the past for successful solutions to previous problems and to apply them to the present. Analyzing why a problem is happening is a waste of time, he contends: all that's needed is simple experimentation with one's behavior. For instance, in one example, a couple who argued nightly when the husband returned from work were able to break their pattern by postponing any discussions until after he had showered and changed clothes. All that was needed, suggests O'Hanlon, was this simple adjustment. However, the husband's respite probably allowed him crucial time to relax and get some mental distance from his workday. Some of the apparently ridiculous pattern changes O'Hanlon recommends (if you wish to eat fewer cookies, eat them with your left hand instead of your right) work because they increase awareness of the behavior, as recognized by behavior therapists many decades ago. O'Hanlon has mastered a formula that draws in the reader with entertaining anecdotes, concise summaries and an appealingly simple message, but it verges on the simplistic. Agent, Loretta Barrett. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

O'Hanlon, a certified professional counselor, marriage therapist, and author of 16 self-help books (e.g., Love Is a Verb), here makes an interesting addition to the field. Written in short, lively chapters, his book is divided into three topical parts: changing the doing of the problem, changing the viewing of the problem, and applying solution-oriented therapy. Motivated by his own frustrations with traditional therapies (they didn't work for him as he struggled against suicidal thoughts in college), O'Hanlon devised a new therapeutic philosophy. In place of blaming others or treating people as victims or labels, he advocates a "solution-oriented therapy"Äwhich calls for immeditate, seemingly random action. Each chapter consists of personal narratives, chapter summaries, and exercises for personal growth. Unusual but compelling; recommended for public libraries.ÄLisa S. Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 Analysis Paralysis: From Liabilities to Possibilitiesp. 1
Part 1 Changing the Doing of the Problem: Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results
Chapter 2 When Life Has Become the Same Damn Thing Over and Over Again: Changing Patternsp. 15
Chapter 3 Becoming Solution-Oriented: Doing What Worksp. 39
Part 2 Changing the Viewing of the Problem: There's Nothing as Dangerous as an Idea When It's the Only One You Have
Chapter 4 Acknowledgment and Possibility: Getting Beyond the Past and Your Feelingsp. 55
Chapter 5 What You Focus on Expands: Shifting Attentionp. 76
Chapter 6 If You Don't Have a Dream, How You Gonna Make a Dream Come True? Using the Future to Solve Problemsp. 93
Chapter 7 Rewriting Life Stories: Changing Problem Beliefs into Solution-Oriented Ideasp. 107
Chapter 8 Rising Above Yourself: Solution-Oriented Spiritualityp. 126
Part 3 Applying Solution-Oriented Therapy To Specific Areas of Your Life
Chapter 9 The Codependent Cinderella Who Loves a Man Who Hates Women Too Much: Solution-Oriented Relationshipsp. 145
Chapter 10 You Mean You Can Talk During This? Solution-Oriented Sexualityp. 165
Chapter 11 Exorcising the Ghosts of the Past: Using Rituals to Resolve Unfinished Business and to Prevent Problemsp. 180
Chapter 12 If You Fall on Your Face, at Least You're Heading in the Right Direction: Solution-Oriented Livingp. 192
Solution-Oriented Resources: Books, Tapes, and Other Resources You Might Find Helpfulp. 199
Referencesp. 201
Indexp. 203