Turn the Tide: Rise above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace (*Book Review*)

Turn the Tide by Dr. Kathy Obear

Dr. Kathy Obear recently published Turn the Tide: Rise Above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace, which is a resource that you can use yourself or with your staff and / or students. The book is available as a $2.99 Kindle download on Amazon.

While Dr. Obear explicitly states in the text that she herself is not a therapist, the book is essentially an illustration of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). “REBT’s basic hypothesis is that our emotions stem mainly from our beliefs, which influence the evaluations and interpretations we make of the reactions we have to life situations” (Corey, 2013, p. 268). Through the REBT process, individuals can replace ineffective ways of thinking and thereby change their emotional reactions to various situations they encounter in their life. Likewise, Dr. Obear walks the reader through a similar process in which individuals, particularly those who are having challenging times in the workplace, can shift their thoughts and reactions to more positive and proactive outcomes.

The book is organized into ten chapters: 1.) I can’t control how I react! Maybe I can; 2.) Step 1 – What pushed my buttons; 3.) Step 2 – Intrapersonal Roots; 4.) Step 3 – Making meaning: Change your story, change your reactions; 5.) Step 4 – Common physiological, emotional, and mental reactions; 6.) Step 5 – “Choosing” your intentions; 7.) Step 6 – Tools to Respond Effectively; 8.) Step 7 – The impact of our triggered reactions; 9.) Maximize our effectiveness: Focus on Self-Care and Healing Practices; and 10.) We Always Have a Choice. The book has many self-directed exercises in them, which helps the reader to explore and work through the various feelings and thoughts they may be having as a result of being in a challenging work environment. While the content of the book centers on one’s own personal reactions to the day-to-day dynamics of working with others, it does not cover the more nefarious and even illegal issues that can and do occur in the workplace, such as bullying, discrimination, harassment, and how to manage those particular situations.

I highly recommend Turn the Tide: Rise Above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace for graduate students, new professionals, and those supervisors who are responsible for developing staff training and professional development opportunities. 

Works cited:

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Stamford, CT: Brooks / Cole.

2 thoughts on “Turn the Tide: Rise above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace (*Book Review*)

  1. jenmariebanks

    I recently attended the Community College Institute where Dr. Obear facilitated a session geared towards taking a pulse on diversity and access in our institutions. She had mentioned this book…I’m wondering if you might have a situation where you used these strategies? Thanks for the review and post!

    1. studentlifeguru

      Thanks for your comments! I have been?using these strategies now for quite a few years because they basically come from the rational-emotive behavioral therapy philosophy. I earned my M.S. in mental health counseling years ago and did my best to try to apply these strategies to my own work in student affairs; if I change how I think, I can change how I feel. If I can change how I feel, I can change how I react (my behaviors). Specifically for me, working in a politically-charged university environment comes with many personality and agenda conflicts, which can lead to many stressors emotionally. After many years of practice, I try my best to listen more and think before simply reacting to a colleague or a supervisor. Not only has this decreased unneeded conflict, but also has aided my own personal wellness.


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