The Reality Slap (2nd Edition)

Reviewed By  Nan van Dissel       January 8, 2021


Author  Dr Russ Harris

Distributor:      Exisle Publishing
ISBN:                 9781925820911
Publisher:         Exisle Publishing
Release Date:   November 2020  


Life isn’t always a bed of roses; at some point in life, each of us goes through a life-altering event, which Dr Russ Harris calls a ‘Reality Slap’. This newly revised updated edition of his book ‘The Reality Slap’ provides strategies which the readers can put in place, to acknowledge their pain from the adverse event which has befallen them, thus coming to terms with it in order to regain meaning and purpose in life.

Doctor Russ Harris, an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Therapist, has divided his updated book into two parts. Part 1 is devoted to explaining, developing and learning effective coping skills, which are an important part of the ACT model. The reader is encouraged to practice these mindfulness skills through experiments, which are incorporated throughout the text.  Each experiment is easy to undertake and clearly illustrates the skill which is being developed.

The second part of this book focusses on actively rebuilding the reader’s life. Again the author emphasises the importance of self-compassion and small acts of kindness, as well as suggesting the readers take small steps at a time in the rejuvenation of their lives. Readers are encouraged to think of their lives in terms of four overarching domains: work and education; family and friends; play and leisure; and health and wellbeing.  To successfully rebuild one’s life, the author recommends that one of these domains is worked on at a time.

Although the ACT model acknowledges that what has happened isn’t okay or excusable, or unimportant, the author advocates that it is desirable, when inflicted with a reality slap, to visualize and value what life was like before grief, misery, wretchedness, or resentment took over

The practical advice given and the wealth of scenarios, will aid the reader who has experienced a life-altering event to start accepting what has happened and how to move on.  Having a passion for his subject, the writer has provided three appendices of practical exercises and additional helpful resources.