Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:47

Suffield-based author’s new book has common-sense approach to deal with everyday problems

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“Keep Calm and Carry On” is a recognizable phrase which has its origin based in the British government’s way of trying to keep the public docile during the beginning of the Second World War.


This is the core of how Suffield-area relationship counsellor Cat Williams approaches life and explains the approach to her new book Stay Calm and Content No Matter What Life Throws at You.
Williams will be at the Medicine Hat Public Library March 10 at 2 p.m. to read from her new book.
While stay calm may be the core, the underlying theme of the book is the importance of a good and healthy self-esteem. Williams believes many of today’s problems can stem back from some form of an unhealthy self-esteem.
Williams explained people are too hard on themselves and the negativity causes problems in how they approach daily issues.
“Really, I just had a ‘light-bulb’ moment … there’s really one problem and that’s self-esteem,” explained Williams.
She said a lot of times people may have unhealthy relationships with others and it’s because they feel like they are being criticized or insulted and hence one takes it out on someone else.  She “couldn’t bear to read anymore anti-depression books … they’re too long and too specific on one particular issue.”
Williams said as a British Army wife with a family of two, she understands what it’s like to require patience and the need for confidence in oneself. With moving around a lot, worrying about the safety of a spouse while trying to look after children, and post-traumatic stress, a lot of negative thoughts can creep in. 
She said low self-esteem can hit people at any time.
The book features stories and short discussions on “stress, couple relationships, work problems, parenting, motherhood, extra-marital affairs, divorce, bullying, depression, self-harm, family relationships, Christmas, teenagers, arguments, communication, chronic pain, addiction, bereavement, abuse, suicide, the battle of the sexes, and more.”
The book is for everybody, not just people who are suffering an acute problem. She doesn’t like the term “self-help book” because this book isn’t addressing one problem —she is just demonstrating on how overcoming an issue like a lack of self esteem solves many problems.
Clients were not only the basis of the topics involved, but Williams common-sense approach to self-esteem also had her clients encourage her to put her theory to paper to share with everyone. Williams had an interesting approach to writing the book. While many of the scenarios were based on past clients’ issues, Williams has fictionalized the accounts to not only protect identities but to also add scenarios to help broaden the problem/ issues’ perspectives.She had more control on what points she wanted to address. In addition, she wrote it from a first-person perspective so the reader has an opportunity to understand what the person is thinking.
Writing from the third-person as an observer would only allow the reader to see symptoms and not the reason why a person is acting in a certain way. The stories are fictional, but the resolutions are real.
“I’m not telling the story, they are.”
While for some authors who have a lot of experience in counselling and have a lot of education —she qualified as a counsellor with the renowned UK charity, Relate, in 2007 and has a B.Sc. (Hons) in physiotherapy from Kings College London — writing a book may lead to jargon-filled explanations which are over-the head or are very difficult for readers to understand, this book is simpler and more straightforward to read.
“It was really easy. I’ve read lots of self-help books just to see what they were about and they put me to sleep,” explained Williams. “They’re very knowledgeable but I couldn’t understand why they would just treat one symptom and then they would be talking all of this jargon. I want someone in Costco or Walmart to be walking along and see the book and go ‘oh right, I need to be gentle on myself and on my friends and family.’
“I know I’m saying something that people want to and need to hear...The last thing I wanted to do was to be patronizing; I’m the same as you.”
Williams wants to donate proceeds of the book to children-related or army family related causes/charities.

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Ryan Dahlman

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