Psychological Self-Help

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1201
responses are acceptable (Bornas, Tortella-Feliu, Llabrs & Fullana,
2001). 
Many fears may involve situations you can not create, so you will
need to use your imagination. Examples: speaking to large crowds or
auto accidents or fires or a death. Pictures can be used to augment
your fantasy. You have a choice to make the fantasies as scary as
possible (as mentioned above and in implosive therapy--see method
#10) or you can simply confront (in reality or in fantasy) the situations
that make you uncomfortable until you are fairly comfortable.
However, it seems clear to most of us that viewing a picture of the
inside of a plane or of a street far below the balcony railing is not the
same as being there. Likewise, imagining giving a speech is not the
same as doing it. So your fantasies may need to approach reality fairly
closely. This is the rationale for including scary scenes and distressing
consequences, like a speaker being rejected by the audience, losing
esteem in the eyes of the listeners, being rejected, questioned, and
walked out on. Continue the fantasies until the anxiety is lowered to
tolerable levels. The alternative would be to imagine over and over
giving the speach and doing fairly well. I don't think we know which
approach works best or when. In either case, when appropriate (and
fairly promptly), you have to expose yourself to the real-but-not-
dangerous situation until you can conquer the fear in real life. 
STEP FOUR: Continue the exposure continuously until the fear is
conquered
Don't give up. Don't be intimidated by the fear. Repeatedly have
the experience if a few exposures are not enough (don't forget you
may need new skills to become comfortable--relaxed dancers must
learn how to dance; confident speakers must know what to say). Also,
continue to have the experience occasionally, otherwise the fear may
return. 
Time involved
Possibly a total of 10 to 15 hours. It will take an hour or two for
the fear to subside the first time, maybe much longer. Then the
experience needs to be repeated. 
Common problems
The most common problem is that people do not want to suffer the
only appropriate when there is a specific and available scary situation.
Vague generalized anxiety doesn't involve a specific scary situation to
confront. 
Effectiveness, advantages and dangers
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