Rise Above Your Stuff: A Workbook for those Struggling to find Themselves amidst their Stuff

Rise Above Your Stuff: A Workbook for those Struggling to find Themselves amidst their Stuff  by Dr. Barbara Jo Dennison and Ms. Karen Kruzan is both a self-help manual for people with clutter challenges and a workbook which can be used as a supplement to their Fresh Start support group programming with therapists. I have a similar concern with Rise Above as I do with Fresh Start:

  • While I’m not a medical provider in any way, nor a statistician, I am nonetheless skeptical of some of the tools which Dr. Dennison and Ms. Kruzan employ, explicitly the DISC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment models. There is debate concerning their validity (how “real” the idea is, how connected to fact and/or how well you can test the ideas). There are also questions about the reliability of the tests used to measure the occurrence of the ideas (that the tests’ results can be reproduced without unexplained variations from use-of-test to use-of-test to use-of-test). Disclaimer – I’m not sure I’m explaining validity or reliability at all well!

BUT there are inspired elements to this text as well. Each chapter is prefaced with a client’s real story, which is just such a gentle, approachable way to reassure readers that “they’re not alone.” The book’s layout is simple to use. Dennison and Kruzan explain difficult concepts clearly and compassionately.

And so, in the end, I’ve chosen to review Rise Above because all materials which provide possible assistance to people with clutter challenges are valuable. There’s no way to predict what might work for who. Dr. Dennison and Ms. Kruzan are highly-esteemed therapists. I’ve taken continuing education courses from each of them. I own fundamental books to which they’ve contributed. Their perspective is deeply informed by years of experience and training. Their approach is extremely compassionate, extremely accessible for laypeople, and has been carefully refined over time in light of feedback from group members. In other words, my skepticism about the DISC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality tools may be entirely wrong. Or even if I’m correct, separate the chaff from the wheat. If I’ve just pointed even one person to a new, inspiring way to think about their struggles, YAY!!


About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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