Designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment, Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety, outlines several self-help methods for relief from anxiety and worry. In clear language and a conversational style, Dr. Berndt talks intimately with the reader like he would in a therapy session, and he shares what he learned from his peers and clients about how to make techniques for anxiety management more effective and helpful.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-99
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to share what I have learned in my psychotherapy practice about how to make anxiety management techniques more useful and effective. Building on what I have learned from my peers, my clients and I have been trying out new ideas and twists to see what is most helpful.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted to start off by teaching you a technique, sometimes known as the 54321 Technique, you can begin to use right way. I learned a version of this initially from another psychologist, Yvonne Dolan, who is one of the bright stars of the Solution Focused brief therapy approach. Perhaps because of her training under master therapist Milton Erickson, she learned the value of being especially creative and innovative. When I noticed early in my career that my skill set needed some bolstering, I sought training from Ms. Dolan, among others. She taught an earlier version of this technique in a seminar that I attended on treatment approaches to Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The information she shared is presented in her 2000 book, One Small Step, Moving Beyond Trauma and Therapy to a Life of Joy and she indicated that the technique in its original version should be credited to Betty Erickson, the wife of hypnotherapist Milton Erickson. This particular method, as it has evolved in the way I use it, is now one of my “go to” tools whenever I want to help my clients to feel more grounded. Yvonne Dolan originally taught me the approach as a tool for dealing with flashbacks, so it is a fairly strong remedy, but my patients and I have discovered that it can be useful with many types of emotional storms.
Ms. Dolan encouraged those of us who were in that PTSD training seminar to continue to develop what I will call the “54321 Technique,” and to modify it. I have, over the years, had the privilege—with significant input from many of my clients—to change, improve upon, and modify some components of this procedure. I now use the tool clinically as I present it here, to teach my clients how to manage anxiety and other strong feelings.
The way I am presenting this technique is easy to teach, and in order to present it to the reader I have similarly made it as accessible as possible, and in so doing, by necessity I am making it rather generic. I leave it up to you the reader to shape it, change it, and enrich it in ways that are tailored to your own unique needs and style. As you become more skilled at the basic procedure (and others presented in later chapters), you will find ways to improve the technique by making it more interesting to you, more simpatico, and thereby more powerful.
In its simplest form this 54321 skill can be quite helpful, without any changes. However, by changing the technique and making it yours, you will more confidently rely on it for managing severe anxiety and for relief during other peak moments of stress. Combined with other strategies in the later chapters, you will get more adept at developing an emotionally intelligent skillset, from which you can pick and choose your best option for handling an emotional problem.
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