Heart Searching: Love? Super . . .: Rachel Lipman gets in touch with her inner self in the quest for a happy relationship. 'Superlove' - Anne Naylor: Thorsons, 5.99 pounds

THIS BOOK should be available on the NHS, and seems likely to put most psychotherapists (not to mention the Heart Searching page) out of business.

That, at least, is the implication of Anne Naylor's claims at the outset of an often exhilarating, occasionally irritating and entirely fascinating book. She confidently promises that her approach 'will lead you to enriching yourself and to bringing lasting pleasure in your relationships with others'. For her, 'Super' stands for Self- Acceptance, Understanding, Peace, Expansion, and Rejoice - put them all together and you will learn to 'love life in all its forms'.

Subtitled The Guide to Happiness in Personal Relationships, Superlove follows hard on the heels of last year's Superlife: The Seven Steps that Spell SUCCESS. And Ms Naylor's talents do not stop at merely writing books: she is a veritable one-woman industry on life transformation, offering a 'Superlife Consultation' that gives people the chance to 'improve their life circumstances in order to experience greater fulfilment and satisfaction in their career, relationships or overall well-being'. She also organises corporate 'Superlife' courses and numerous other presentations, seminars and workshops.

She is, according to her publishers, 'successful, radiant and seems to love everybody'. Just reading her CV is exhausting, from the 13 (13]) O-levels she gained at school in Kent to the period of 'intensive training in personal development' she underwent in the United States during the 1980s - not insignificant, since her upbeat, breathless, all-action (and at times all- jargon) writing style has a distinctly transatlantic flavour.

So how does it all work? The Naylor principle is that the key to success in relationships with other people is to achieve 'peace of mind and contentment in the relationship with yourself'; making the most of the potential to show more kindness and compassion towards yourself, she believes, will enable you to bring 'ease, harmony and fulfilment' to all your relationships. 'The solid foundation for Superlove,' she continues, 'is self- acceptance and learning to love those aspects of yourself that in the past you may have rejected or denied. In order to more fully accept yourself and successfully grow in your relationships, you will need to see, without shame or blame, who you are.'

By learning to love our 'inner child' we can resolve emotional conflict such as self-doubt, guilt, resentment or loneliness, and the resources within our own 'inspirational self' can give us the wisdom and guidance to deal with such difficulties.

It all sounds very impressive in theory. How does it work in practice? Each section contains exercises that I found great fun to do. For example, as we take the first steps towards self-awareness, we are invited to make a list of all the things we dislike about ourselves, then review the list in a more detached way, perhaps by imagining ourselves as a visitor from another planet; thus 'I am ugly' becomes 'I have an interesting and unusual face' and 'I lose my temper a lot' becomes 'I have a quick mind and strong emotions so sometimes I explode like a firework'.

Finally, we are asked to return to the original list and make a distinction between the things we can change and those we cannot. The next exercise offers a way to come to terms with the latter category, turning a negative characteristic ('Beanpole. I am too tall') into a positive interpretation ('I am a sunny person and my height lets me extend my warmth to many people'). We are on the road to self-acceptance, 'the foundation of a happy life well lived'.

The exercises, many accompanied by ingenious diagrams and charts - the 'Triangle of Trust', the 'Mind Map', the 'Fairy Godparent's Charter' - range from the straightforward to the more elaborate. One of my favourites was one of the simplest: 'Select three actions in the next week to promote happiness within yourself, in a relationship with a loved one, and in the outside world.' (I'm not saying what I did, but it was wonderful.)

The book unfolds into a series of variations on the central theme: understanding yourself and others, becoming a friend to yourself and establishing a peaceful co-existence with others, being true to yourself and always choosing the positive option; but, amid the copious theory, there are genuine insights into what happens between real people in real relationships. For example, she says: 'When we fall into the pattern of negatively trying to 'score points' in a relationship, we lose sight of both the loving within ourselves and our 'opponent', the net result being loneliness, isolation and a kind of inner separation.' Ring any bells?

Some of Ms Naylor's ideas might sound odd, even silly (I have to admit failing to find much evidence for her assertion that 'you can physically locate the Inner Child in your body as the area around your navel'), but much of what she says is common sense. I certainly enjoyed the exercises and felt better after some of them, but the jury is still out on whether I can expect to reap the full rewards of the programme, since it is best followed in short steps over a period of months rather than squashed into the hurried timetable of a Heart Searching reviewer.

Not all the insights will work with everyone, but the sheer volume of ideas on offer means that you would have to be unusually cynical or unadventurous not to derive some benefit. And it is hard not to warm to a book whose final thought is: 'Rejoice . . . It's a Wonderful Life.' For those who remain unconvinced, a third title in the series is on the way: Superyou, The Possible Dream. Super]

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'