by Dr. Julia Bain, LPCC, NCC, CEAP
You Are the Sheriff of Me Town: Where You Have All the Power, by Dr. Julia Bain, is a book that explores the various aspects of our self-dialogue and self-image, especially areas that are sometimes overlooked. The author begins by introducing her metaphor that we are all the sheriffs of “Me Town,” and as a result, we have control over the choices and beliefs that run this town. The book progresses into the different aspects of our lives that we have control over and the ways that taking ownership of these areas can empower us. This involves diving into our beliefs, thoughts, values, and self-image.
A strength of this book is how the author breaks down and organizes the sections. When working with a multi-layered metaphor, readers can become overwhelmed with the different terms and ideas presented. Dr. Bain has sectioned the book in a way that introduces and explains topics while also moving the narrative toward more complex ideas.
Another strength of this book is the underlying philosophy driving its message. We are not static beings, and Dr. Bain reminds the reader that change is both possible and necessary to achieve our goals. In pursuit of these goals, Dr. Bain puts a strong emphasis on checking in with oneself.
I greatly enjoyed the resource section at the end of the book. The author uses a key phrase or idea for each letter of the alphabet and describes these ideas in a paragraph or two. These sections are condensed versions of topics discussed in the book and provide a brief summary of Dr. Bain’s points. I saw these sections as mini pep talks or even prompts for journal entries.
An area of improvement for this book would be a stronger recognition of external factors. Yes, we are in control of the choices we make, but oftentimes those choices are influenced by elements outside our control. Being able to separate the various motivators in our lives, whether internal or external, can be a powerful step toward change.
Fellow professionals may see this book as a good resource for clients who are hoping to improve their levels of self-esteem or confidence. Being able to identify different strengths and characteristics in our lives can be an empowering step toward change and growth.
I frequently utilize imagery and metaphors with my clients; I believe it helps build rapport and can help explain difficult or complex topics. I could see other professionals, myself included, using the idea of being “the sheriff of Me Town” as a way to empower clients to take charge of their lives.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I could see its usefulness in and out of the counseling session. It breaks down aspects of our identify and helps the reader find ways of nurturing these areas. Although a good starting point, I would encourage readers to use this book as a springboard to dive into deeper areas of reflection and study.
Bain, J. (2021). You are the sheriff of Me Town: Where you have all the power. Walton Publishing House.
Reviewed by: Amanda Condic, MA, NCC, LPC
The Professional Counselor