‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ Chris Packham
When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.
The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.
In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I love listening to the birds singing in the morning and visiting the feeding table, so when I was offered the chance to review Bird Therapy I jumped at the chance. Within its pages, Joe Harkness advocates the endless possibilities bird watching has to help those suffering from depression and many other mental illnesses.
I enjoyed this book very much because so much of what he has written resonated with me. I admired the honesty of his writing and the way he shared his experiences with us because he wants to help as many people as possible. It made this a very positive and often moving read and it helped me to understand why I find sitting in the garden in the morning so relaxing. For here, I find peace, tranquillity and I feel connected with the moment, before having to leave for the clutter and noise of work.
Not only does he share his own experiences about how bird watching has helped him, he lays out for the reader in a clear and easy to understand way, practical tips on how to get the best out of bird watching, which I felt added, an extra layer of usefulness to this form of therapy. It would have been easy for him to simply write a book about his own experiences and leave it at that, but that would have left many readers too overwhelmed on where to start, if they felt this form of therapy could help them. By giving these tips, he opens up a completely new world and hobby to those who are too often overwhelmed by their illness to be able to find a route to wellbeing. It gives readers a starting point and the comfort of knowing, this is a journey to recovery, not an insurmountable hurdle. The way he has chosen to write it, makes this form of mindfulness accessible to all and offers an alternative to those who what to supplement traditional forms of treatment, or avoid taking medication and those that have not found help from other forms of therapy.
It’s power comes from the way the writer is speaking from experience and that this therapy has helped him and continues to do so. It offers hope to other suffers. Depression does not simply disappear; alongside so many chronic conditions, this is a continuous battle to stay focussed on a life worth living and many need therapy such as this that offers continuing support. This is no fad; it is a form of therapy that is accessible to all.
Now that I understand why I find listening to the birds in my garden so comforting, I will do it more. When I walk with friends, I will watch out for our avian neighbours.
It has the real possibility of saving lives, of opening up to many whose lives are clouded by mental health issues, a route to wellbeing and offering real ongoing therapeutic benefits.
You can purchase the novel from Amazon
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