Veteran psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff ventures to spotlight practical Energy Psychiatry, her expertise, a blend of traditional medicine and subtle energies of body and mind in her latest book Positive Energy (Three Rivers Press, New York, 2005). Grounded mainly in the deep-rooted mystical traditions, Energy Psychiatry is a scientific transformation of abstract energy principles for the treatment of a range of everyday problems like anxiety, maladjustment, mood swings, sexual discontent, and the general stresses of life. That makes Positive Energy a book for almost everyone.
Dr. Orloff divides her book in two parts: Building your Energy and Creating Positive Relationships and Combating Energy Vampires. The first part offers seven prescriptions each showing a window to utilizing and boosting one’s subtle energy resources. The second part involves three prescriptions on creating positive relationships, tackling energy-draining people (the Energy Vampires) and tuning in to the abundance of joy all around. Personal experience and stories of her patients make an interesting vista of healing with positivism. What attracts more, perhaps, is the voice of celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis, Larry King, Shirley Maclaine, and others commenting on their encounters with energy-draining situations. The essence of Dr. Orloff’s advice is her emphasis on staying in the Now that can be procured by some simple exercises, meditations, and mantra.
Given all the good points of the book, Positive Energy has its slack slots. The subject matter is not free of serious speculation. Myths of flowers blooming on the statue of a goddess in South Korea and intuitive premonitions of energy-sensitive people raise doubts. Some of the personal stories are redundant and sound like thrumming on the same string. The narrative mode too feels rather preachy with repetitive reminders of ‘I’ll teach you’, ‘I’ll show you’, ‘You’ll learn’ and so on. Above all, it is the view of existence through the hazy Lens of Energy that puts the author’s viewpoint to question.
A reference guide, brief overview, and an index aid the reader with choice passages.
Positive Energy’s interested readership is wide and varied. For a Type A person, it is a thing to seek. For a hard-shelled scientist, it is one to answer.