Changes That Heal: How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future

By: Dr. Henry Cloud
1992
Nonfiction
Subject Matter: Emotional maturity; Religious aspects; Christianity; Psychology; Christian life
Rating: 2/5

Changes That Heal book cover

Changes That Heal, in Dr. Cloud‘s own words, “is a book about relationship, and the barriers that must be broken down for us to have a real relationship with God, others, and ourselves.”

This book was highly recommended to me.

My conclusion?

Eh.

I feel like the book was written for people who come from radically broken homes, who have severe psychological issues, or who had parents who sheltered them way too much.

Since, fortunately, a total of none of those apply to me, this book was kind of tedious.

Cloud’s writing style is to give anecdote after anecdote after anecdote, to break up each section into literally hundreds of subsections, to beat an issue to death. Maybe that works for some people, but that doesn’t work for me. (Actually, I know it works for some people; this book has gone through about a million editions.)

This book is sort of a Christian self-help book. It’s not there to convince you that God is real; it’s focused on how to live out a fulfilling Chrisitan life. It’s supposed to help you figure out what you’re doing subconsciously that might be damaging your various relationships. It looks at this in four sections: Bonding to Others, Separating from Others, Sorting Out Good and Bad, and Becoming an Adult. It’s about how we react to situations, the emotions we feel or repress, and discovering the deeper root issues and how these situations might be handled in a healthier way.

This book isn’t complete crock. I found myself agreeing to several of Cloud’s little subsections, saying to myself, “Yeah, I do that!” or “I should start doing that.”

But maybe that’s the problem with this book, is that it deals with a little too much; it tries to be applicable to anyone who might be reading it, young and old, mature and immature, healthy and very very deeply unhealthy. Maybe it would’ve done better to delve into just one or two issue on a much deeper level. (It also would’ve done better to leave out about half of the anecdotes…)

I just got bored with this book. I read it with a group, so I couldn’t just quit, but I was definitely trudging through it.

If you think you need to work on your relational self, then reading this book might be an entirely different scenario for you.

But for me?

It didn’t mean much.

 

*****

 

Here are some more books like Changes That Heal:

(for themes of modern Christian life)

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life by Robert Hall

The Finishers by Roger Hershey and Jason Weimer

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

(for more by Cloud)

Boundaries by Henry Cloud

Safe People by Henry Cloud

How People Grow by Henry Cloud

 

Coming up:

The Nazi Connection by F. W. Winterbotham

The Once and Future King by T. H. White

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