Last year, I had the honor of being interviewed by Annette Pasternak, a holistic health coach who is in recovery from Dermatillomania. With the brunt of her formal education being in chemistry (even acquiring a doctorate), her collective approach to combating her skin picking disorder has been an eye-opener for the community.
Unlike certain scammers out there, Annette has the research to back up much of what is in her book and has taken the time to have both Jennifer Raikes, TLC’s Executive Director, and Tammy Fletcher, a reputable and respected treatment provider in the field of BFRB’s review “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop”. It is with great honor that she mailed me a copy of the original transcript of this guide to also take a look at and provide feedback for. With that, my official statement about this book is:
“Annette’s experience as a health coach, chemist, and recovered skin picker radiates in this guide to taking back your life through various techniques to, in the least, reduce the urges of compulsive skin picking.”
To compliment my opinion, I rate this book a 9.5/ 10! Before continuing, I must address my worries about the release of this guide; the title of it concerned me and it is still unsettling for me because I don’t quite endorse any title that sounds definitive in nature when regarding BFRB’s. It may be a marketing strategy to reach out to the community, to those of us who are desperately seeking a “quick fix” and with that, it can disappoint vulnerable persons who do not understand the complexities of this disorder. A title such as “Reduce Your Skin Picking Urges” would not pack the punch that Annette’s working title does, although it is more practical to not mistakenly mislead people who may also suffer from serious co-morbid mental health issues that need psychological counseling alongside this book.
However, the content of this book is outstanding and I believe it may play an enormous factor of healing for many people with this disorder; for the varying degrees of Dermatillomania that is out there, although not yet specified by the mental health community, there may be people who can fully benefit and truly find “Freedom to Finally Stop”! I was impressed with the layout of Annette’s work as she delves into her own experiences with skin picking in high school to how it progressed in college.
With most of us without resources in our area, I would highly recommend this book for your toolbox. Already, her book has made me question some of my lifestyle choices and how they affect my skin picking. When she delves into the diet aspect of our triggers, I paid close attention to how my body may be reacting to foods. I have learned that, for me, when I eat appropriate portions (dwindling my intake of sugar) my picking becomes automatically reduced which takes away from the torture of having to use as many tactics to rip myself away from the mirror once I’ve “gone there”.
The tone throughout the book is one of a gentle kindness, which mimics what Annette Pasternak is really about. Not only does she write about skin picking (which is interchangeable with Trichotillomania), the flow in which she explains the impact of focusing/ grounding techniques, negative thinking, EFT, habit log, etc. just glides charismatically off of her fingers and onto the pages. She breaks down facts, studies, experiences, the “whys”, and gives us techniques to consider so that we can figure out what concoction works best for us. I do again must stress that you cannot go into reading this or any other self-help guide with the expectation of it curing the affliction in question- it’s designed to curb your urges and if the result is one that leaves you with no urges then the point behind its publication has been fulfilled.
I wish I could go in-depth with this review but I don’t want to spoil everything Annette has done in her guide to bring awareness to a various number of possible issues, ones that aren’t already conventionally out there that we hear over and over again but don’t benefit from. You may click here to read a preview of what’s inside to determine if it is right for you- but I do believe that we can all benefit from Annette’s insight based intrinsically on her own battles, success, chemist background and dealings as a holistic coach.
My experience with Annette as a health coach has been very beneficial. I must mention that I did not use her Skype service as a way to curb my picking because I was not ready to test those waters so I opted to see what she could offer me in helping me stay away from smoking. At the time I was a recent quitter and was still struggling over my urges so my logic was to put forth her coaching to an “easier” problem. She also volunteered to try a new technique she had learned for free and my resistance to meditation was lifted with a simple exercise that Annette guided me through- my anxiety had actually gone down. Of all the years I’ve frustratingly tried to practice meditation, this was the first time I reaped any benefits from it. Afterward, Annette shared this technique on YouTube for everyone to try out. I know that when I become ready to work more on my skin picking self, I will be rereading this book and seeking out her guidance.