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Introducing Overcoming Phobias: A Practical Guide Paperback – 2 Jan 2014
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From the Author
Patricia Furness-Smith is a psychologist and accredited practitioner with over twenty years’ experience in her field. Her work with people suffering with phobias has led her to travel around the world helping people to overcome the various fears which have blighted their lives.
About the Author
Patricia Furness-Smith is a psychologist and accredited practitioner with over twenty years' experience in her field. Her work with people suffering with phobias has led her to travel around the world helping people to overcome the various fears which have blighted their lives.
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I've suffered from a particular phobia all my adult life, indeed as long as I can remember. I guess I'd always assumed it was just something I had to live with it, that it was just a part of who I am… Rather than address the phobia or its causes, I would do anything to avoid situations in which I might be faced by my irrational fear, my own personal 'gremlin'. I thought I had it under control, that it was no big deal, but I was wrong: it was in fact the phobia that was controlling me.
The crunch came last year, when I realised that my phobia was beginning to have a serious impact on both my professional and my personal life. Enough was enough. Something had to be done.
As it happens, my own first step on the path to freeing myself from my phobia was another book by Patricia Furness-Smith, which was recommended to me by a friend. Much to my surprise, that book turned out to be incredibly helpful to me in addressing my phobia – and I also liked Ms Furness-Smith's practical approach and her fluent writing style – so when Amazon notified me of the publication of "Overcoming Phobias" I had no hesitation in buying a copy. Let me tell you, it was money well spent!
The book is divided into two sections. Section A, which is about the nature and causes of phobias, is not only interesting in its own right, but was very helpful for me, as I am a fairly analytical person and so need to be able to understand a problem in order to deal with it. Section B contains a lot of practical advice on how to get help.
I am sure that for many people this book alone would go a long way towards helping them rid themselves of their phobia. But, as a practising psychotherapist, the author (to her credit) readily admits that in some cases professional help will be required. She describes the various types of treatment available, including exposure therapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The author also outlines her own preferred therapeutic approach and her 4Rs paradigm: React (take control), Regulate (control your breathing), Relax (control muscle tension) and Rehearse (control your thoughts). That sounds simple enough, but I have found it be a very powerful method of bringing my own phobia under control.
In short, this is a fascinating book, which I'm sure would be of interest even to those who do not suffer from a phobia, but are simply curious about the workings of the human mind. However, for people whose lives are currently being blighted by a phobia (as mine was for so long), I can enthusiastically recommend this book: seriously, it might just change your life for the better!
Section A: understanding phobias appears to be based on the idea that knowledge is power, starting at the beginning with an explanation on what a phobia can be defined as, moving through classification of phobias and explaining each category with reference to the Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) again with case study examples, to more detail on both social and agoraphobia. Patricia then explains both the behavioral and biological side of phobias including history targets and causes, risk factors and the brain and fear. This section finished with two more chapters on anxiety and panic attacks both what is actually going on in your body and the symptoms you recognise yourself.
For me section B: overcoming phobias is the section I spent most time reading and re-reading as I found there is a lot I could do but not all of it right for me. Patricia gives three steps to defeating a phobia, 1) Admit you need help (checked off my list) but steps 2 and 3, choose the appropriate help and carry out the selected treatment needed more thinking about. This book explains the different types of professional help available through books, friends and family and even explanation between the different types of professional help (GP's, Psychiatrists, Psychologists etc.) and helped me to understand the different titles including the difference between a clinical psychologist and a chartered psychologist. Medication is explained including the names of drugs, which come under titles such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines and this, is followed by types of therapy commonly used. The last few chapters focus on Patricia's approach, similar to the approach spoken about in her former book, flying with confidence.
I could go into much more detail about each of the chapters, however I recommended that you read the book yourself and experience your own journey.
Flying with Confidence: The proven programme to fix your flying fears
I really like the way it is written too. I feel like she's talking to me! It feels good to think I can beat this.....