Product reviews for Treating Stress and Anxiety

Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D. is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Trainer in Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Treating Stress and Anxiety by Lillian Nejad and Katerina Volny is a book that should be on the desk of every practitioner who works with adults experiencing stress, anxiety, phobias, or PTSD. The book provides treatment plans and goals for the practitioner, as well as a variety of educational client handouts (in PDF file format) contained on a CD. The files are ready for the practitioner to print out for each client as needed (Adobe Reader is the software you need on your computer).

In addition, the authors have produced an audio CD Relaxation Techniques, which can be purchased separately. The audio CD contains the voices of the authors, taking the listener through a series of relaxation exercises that reduce stress and anxiety. The authors recommend that listeners practice their favorite exercises daily. Each exercise is accompanied by a brief explanation and the exercises range from approximately 2 to 19 minutes. Most of the exercises require that the listener is seated or reclining, although one is a “walking relaxation” exercise. The background music and the voices of Nejad and Volny are soothing and the scripting is well-done. Anyone could benefit from listening to the CD whether they read the book or not. Therapists may want to recommend the CD to their clients.

The book's approach is mainly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with passing references to additional modalities such as psychodynamics, NLP, and hypnosis.  The text contains assessment and treatment guidelines for practitioners with the added benefit of handouts and worksheets for clients. The book begins with an overview of stress and anxiety disorders, including diagnostic criteria and statistics on the prevalence of such disorders in the general population. The second chapter covers risk factors, predisposing factors, and precipitating factors, with advice on how to assess the client's readiness for treatment, as well as possible barriers to treatment, such as social stigma.

Nejad and Volny go on to cover various treatment modalities and self-help strategies. I think every therapist could make use of the handouts in this section, which include information about proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, time management, and problem solving.

The authors devote a chapter each to relaxation and breathing exercises, managing negative and obsessive thoughts, facing fear, and preventing relapse. The chapter on preventing relapse includes a relapse prevention plan; something often ignored in clinical settings. There is also information on assessing and treating depression, substance abuse, and anger management, as frequently encountered components of anxiety. The book ends with a chapter on group therapy for stress and anxiety disorders.

The evidence-based component of the author's model shows mental health practitioners how to assess a client's presenting issues (with checklists for behavioral, physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms), set specific treatment outcomes, involve the client in the treatment process, monitor progress, and assess the result of treatment. This model is especially valuable in clinical settings that rely on external funding and in research settings that test the efficacy of various treatment approaches. With evidence-based approaches, the results are measurable, and the practitioner can answer the question, “Did therapy work for this client?”

With anxiety disorders on the increase, this book is much needed and will be much appreciated by practitioners working in a wide range of settings. I recommend it highly and I expect my copy will be quite dog-eared in a matter of months.
Guest | 11/11/2008 00:00
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