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Julia Bueno – ‘Everyone’s A Critic: How We Can Learn To Be Kind To Ourselves’ review

A case-study approach to learning to be kind to ourselves.

Julia Bueno - Everyone's a Critic
Credit: Virago

Award-winning psychotherapist, Julia Bueno, has released her latest book, ‘Everyone’s A Critic’, a case-study approach to learning to be kind to ourselves, with Virago.

Over seven chapters Bueno discusses key themes her clients have faced over the years. Instead of using names, however, she creates a relatable persona, based on a composite of real experiences she has discussed with people. ‘Everyone’s A Critic’ offers a “potentially life-changing exploration of self-criticism”, drawing on these presented case studies. Bueno’s writing is accessible, with reference made to pre and post-pandemic experiences, of working with clients in an office, but also online, and she speaks in a frank manner to us the reader. She’s particularly astute when she states, “I’m fine has to be one of the most socially acceptable lies told in the English language”.

Bueno asks us, the reader, “do you beat yourself up after making a mistake?  Do you treat yourself worse than you would a good friend?” to draw us into her world of examining how we internalise criticism and how we can present this to others – family, friends and colleagues – as well as a therapist.

We meet a range of amalgamated clients in ‘Everyone’s A Critic’, such as Daniel in ‘Meanies’ who, whilst outwardly successful, struggles to find a third date with the same woman. The imposter syndrome that plagues Marnie in ‘Untethered’ will relate to many people who feel we’re not producing our best work and at any minute the curtain will rise to reveal the shame of extreme self-doubt. Many subjects are covered in Bueno’s book, including sexual identity in Man Up and religious perceptions in Goodliness.  Bueno is also honest sharing her own experiences as a person and as a psychotherapist, across all stages of her careers – she was formerly a lawyer.

Above all, the theme of ‘Everyone’s A Critic’ is kindness and learning, through discussion of this mental health approach, to be kind to ourselves as well as others, a theme growing in prevalence in the last few years. We have no idea what other people are going through and kindness has never been more important. Bueno’s insightful, honest accounts offer us, the reader, the opportunity of reflection – it’s a short book to read, packed full of emotional experiences and probing questions designed to flatten the inner critic. In addition, this is an uplifting book, because of the honesty of a combination of characters and the ever-present Bueno, which opens up a wider conversation about the talking therapy of psychotherapy.

Published by: Virago Release date: 25th August 2022 Buy ‘Everyone’s A Critic: How We Can Learn To Be Kind To Ourselves’ now

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