Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness. It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.
Joe Harkness has been writing a Bird Therapy blog for the last thress years. In 2017, he had articles published in The Culew and Bidwatch magazine as well as recording three tweets of the day for BBC Radio 4. He is employed as a Special Educational needs teacher and has worked in the youth sector for nine years. He lives in Norfolk.
‘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 Jow 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.
In a day and age where people struggle to cope with the pressure of life, work and relationships, and mental health illnesses are on the rise, a book like this is a necessity.
The keyword in regards to this book is coping strategy. If you have found a strategy that helps you work through mental health issues, as long as it doesn’t harm yourself or others, then that’s a good thing. If you feel others can benefit from being introduced to a new strategy, then share away.
The most interesting element about this book was the way Harkness opened up completely and examined every single thought and action in connection with the bird therapy and his surroundings. This is especially apparent in the last chapters of the book, where he identifies what is ‘off” or not quite right about the new bird watching environment he has moved to. It’s incredibly introspective and he offers up his vulnerability in an attempt to help himself and others at the same time.
There is the man, a member of one of my local FB groups, he takes nature photographs the majority of which are of wildlife and birds. They are so beautiful, so detailed and fascinating. It’s a stark reminder of what passes us by in life and of the beauty we don’t take time to appreciate. Looking at those pictures of birds, wildlife and nature it isn’t hard to understand what a soothing effect it can have on a person, especially when you experience them in real time.
The illustrations by Jo Brown are an added bonus to the written content. They give the read an air of serenity and peacefulness, and hint at the beauty of the avian world. They also give a indication of what the author is talking about.
It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.