Over the years I've bought loads of self-help books and some of them have not been particularly helpful: The key advice could often have been covered in one chapter, and a number of others were so happy clappy that they seemed to come from the contentment thought police.
Skulking around the "For God's Sake Do Something About Your Life Fast" section of bookstores was also rather confusing. So many new "problems" seemed to have been identified by the "experts".
There were even books for people who had become too reliant on self-help books. As for "transforming your life", well, they certainly transformed the lives of various bestselling authors. But which books actually did what they said on the jacket?
Thankfully, help is on hand to guide us through the self-help book jungle and it's called Bibliotherapy. There's a growing belief among health professionals that self-help books can really assist with issues like depression, anorexia and bereavement.
But they have to be good quality books. . . the ones that reach the parts more superficial self-help guides don't even attempt to reach.
That's why some Irish libraries have started Healthy Reading schemes. They stock self-help books that have been selected by respected psychologists, thereby providing a wonderful and necessary quality control service.
In north inner-city Dublin, books are even "prescribed" by GPs and other health professionals. People take these prescriptions along to their local library and are given the book that's been recommended.
Elaine Martin, a senior psychologist with the HSE, introduced the first formal bibliotherapy scheme to Ireland, and declares:
"I feel passionately about the general public having access to good psychological knowledge, because then they can empower themselves."
Her definition of a good quality self-help book is one that has been written by a well respected clinician who regularly sees patients.
Assumpta Hickey, senior librarian at Balbriggan Library in County Dublin, says the local Fingal Libraries Healthy Reading Service, which was launched in May, is proving very popular.
She talked about it on the Tubridy Show recently and has since received many requests from libraries around the country who want to provide the service.
In Fingal's libraries, the self-help books are not "prescribed" but The Healthy Reading leaflets are available throughout Fingal in local libraries, medical centres and even schools. "People come along and choose the book that's right for them", Assumpta explains.
"It may not be the person experiencing the difficulties that gets the book, but a friend or family member.
Fingal libraries have added a "Family" Healthy Reading selection to their service.
The books for that section were recommended by a local family support centre and have proved extremely popular. The House Of Tiny Tearaways appeals to harassed parents, and teenagers love The Rose That Grew From Concrete, by the American rapper Tupac Shakur.
It tells of his struggles through the darker moments of his life and how he finally overcame them.
Fingal's most borrowed adult self-help books are about depression, eating disorders and bereavement.
I Had A Black Dog, His Name Was Depression has been a big hit.
"It's a very visual book. It gives a great understanding of the condition and hope for the future," Assumpta comments.
Yes, bibliotherapy seems to be a growing trend. If you want to read through the lists yourself, just Google "Fingal Libraries Healthy Reading".
You could find the book you need. And maybe your local library will buy it for you!