Finding hope in a broken world: New book offers skills for turbulent times

February 22, 2024 BY

Clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr Ahona Guha. Photo: SUPPLIED

Continuing its program of thought-provoking pop-up events, the Queenscliffe Literary Festival will host an exploration into the skills needed to navigate the increasingly challenging times we live in.

The event will be held on International Women’s Day (March 8) and feature clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr Ahona Guha, who will be discussing her new book Life Skills for a Broken World.

Published in January, it will be Dr Guha’s first in-person event talking about the book.

Life Skills for a Broken World has been divided into several sections that each tackle a broad umbrella of skills, with the aim of providing a framework to help people live mentally healthy lives filled with care for both themselves and others.

“It touches on the psychological competencies that we need as we try and work out how to keep living with some hope,” Dr Guha said.

Radical acceptance is one of the broad skills included in the novel and is further broken down into topics such as accepting yourself, accepting change and accepting failure.

“That’s a skill which basically says there are lots of things that we can’t control and we can’t change,” she said.

“When that happens, how do we actually allow ourselves to accept without some of the real despair that comes from destroying ourselves trying to change something even though we can’t?”

Dr Guha said she didn’t grow up these skills herself because her parents didn’t know them.

“It wasn’t a deliberate failing, it was just a sense of not knowing, not really understanding psychology and thinking that mental health and psychology were things for people who were unwell and that for the rest of us, it just kind of happened.

“There’s this real sense, I think, that with physical health you have to work at it, but it almost feels like we assume mental health is something you have, or you don’t.

“It doesn’t really feel like it’s in our control even though, to some extent, it is.”

She wants readers of Life Skills for a Broken World to take away a sense of hope.

“A sense that they can start to take some control over their own emotions, thoughts and wellbeing.

“A sense of connection with other people and maybe less of an individualistic sense and more of a sense that we’re in this together.

“It’s important to treat each other with care and treat the planet with care, and these are some really practical ways in which we can start doing this.”

Dr Guha will be in conversation with award-winning journalist and best-selling author Jill Stark.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, head to queenscliffeliteraryfestival.com.au