Top critical review
Not an "Ultimate Guide" - more a "Very First Introduction"
Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2015
I am formally diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD). I fit all the DSM qualifying criteria to a tee. I have read books by Millon (x5), Benjamin (x2), Young (x2), Linehan, Kantor, Beck et al on personality disorders, as well as various other less informed and less directed authors. I met with 25 psychochologists/psychiatrists inside and outside hospitals, and had hundreds of counselling sessions - all on this topic. In addition, I have analysed and obsessed over this topic for many years in an effort to get relief from the chronic and severe dysfunction I have.
This book touts itself as "The Ultimate Guide". This is utterly untrue. It is, at best, "A First Introduction" - I personally gained nothing from it. The book is 68 pages of large print, double spaced on small pages. It can be read and fully absorbed in well under an hour. It has just 2 references - both come from a single website. The contents of the book itself are representative of this dearth of research. It consists of generalities again and again. For example at one stage it says something like "your therapy may be once or twice a week, or more or less than this". This statement is near meaningless - it covers all possibilities! Unfortunately the book itself is like this throughout - covering all possibilities, not ruling anything in or out, and not making any insight. Where it does make a good suggestion, this is happened on by chance in a list of possibilities. There is no indication the author knows the "good" from the "bad".
The book was cheap - it cost me something like $12. Although it has no insights, I can see it as having merit for someone who is completely unfamiliar with personality disorders and clinical psychology. It reviews the diagnostic criteria (albeit symptoms, not underlying causes), and presents various options for treatment that have been touted that the beginner can then read more about from more informed sources.
For me, "The Ultimate Guide" remains Lorna Smith Benjamin, whose books provided enormous insight into my personality disorder (and effective treatement) far beyond any other source I have encountered (either in print or in person). Her books, however, are not aimed for the lay reader. To appreciate them fully a lot of groundwork needs to be done in terms of learning about all the 14 officially-recognised personality disorders in terms of the personality modes that we use everyday. I don't know of a good single source for this. However I can say Martin Kantor's earlier book, although flawed and disordered, has many excellent concrete examples of AvPD. So, for those wishing to absorb about how AvPD looks like in real life, this is one place to try next.