Psychological Self-Help

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responding with intense fear. Then you should be able to confront the
real situation without serious emotional trauma. 
Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavioral therapists use a
technique similar to implosion. First, the worrying client imagines the
awful things that could happen. Example: a person facing divorce
could imagine being alone, missing his/her children, having money
problems, being unable to find another partner, etc. Then, the client
imagines how each of those awful situations could be realistically dealt
with and, thus, gains confidence that he/she can cope with divorce. A
similar approach is taken by Wanderer & Ingram (1991). They explain
the technique to the phobic person and then ask them to describe
his/her most frightening situations and wildest fantasies about the
feared situation. This description is recorded on a 3-minute endless
loop tape and then played by the client over and over for 20 or 30
minutes until the fears subside. Several such scenes are taped and
repeated over and over. Eventually, the person can face the real
situation. You could do implosion therapy this way yourself. 
Gradual toleration
Classic example: giving a small puppy to a child who is afraid of
big dogs. If a person is afraid of approaching beautiful people of the
opposite sex, he/she could start with average-looking persons and
work up. If some activity is unpleasant, e.g. studying physics or
looking at sexual parts, think about doing the activity increasingly
while eating or doing something else enjoyable. 
We have more potential control over many bodily functions than
we realized two decades ago. We can alter our own blood pressure,
heart rate, skin temperature, acid secretion in the stomach, muscle
tension, brain waves, etc. While equipment is not necessary,
biofeedback instruments are the only way of knowing the results with
any certainty. Good equipment is expensive; it is probably not worth
buying but a local Mental Health Center may have equipment you
could borrow. Some clinics specialize in pain, headaches, stress,
burnout, etc. See the annual reader, Biofeedback and Self-control,
published by Aldine-Atherton or Plain Talk About Biofeedback
published by NIMH. 
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