Book Review: Anxiety And Avoidance

Anxiety And Avoidance:  A Universal Treatment For Anxiety, Panic, And Fear Based On Proven Techniques From Cognitive Behavioral Therapy And Mindfulness And Acceptance Therapies, by Michael A. Tompkins, PhD

This book is clearly aimed at its target audience, that portion of the roughly ten percent of the population that suffers from various anxiety disorders [Note:  in my life I have been diagnosed, to date, with two of these, namely Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder] or those who are therapists dealing with people suffering immensely from anxiety.  It is telling that on this book, which I borrowed from one of my local county libraries, has a sticker on its over and another one on its table of contents that warns the reader not to write in or remove pages from this book, given that it is a self-help workbook that provides many worksheets for people to write on in an effort to master their intrusive and extreme anxiety.  Anyone who is reading this book will likely know that anxiety is a problem and will be looking to this book as a way of solving them, and the fact that the book adopts a general approach to anxiety as a whole in order to help a whole suite of difficulties, including those not specifically related to anxiety like depression gives this book a wide degree of applicability and usefulness to those who choose to take advantage of it, managing to maintain an intelligent approach without falling prey to the desire to encourage New Age spirituality or promote Buddhism, making it much better than many of its peers [1].

The contents of this book are straightforward and well-organized with a process of growth in mind, as would be expected given its genre.  The book’s nine chapters take up a bit more than 150 pages of 8 ½” x 11” paper, many of them filled with worksheets that help to provide some sort of data to encourage the reader that their efforts at improving their responses to stress and anxiety are working.  The author introduces the book’s subject by discussing anxiety, avoidance, and anxiety disorders and then advocates a process of watching and learning by separating ourselves from the intensity of anxiety to allow us to examine the arc of anxiety (antecedent, or trigger, response, and consequence) and the types of anxious behaviors.  After this the author advocates a process of moving forward by examining the pluses and minuses of avoiding change or deliberately and consciously seeking to overcome anxiety, seeking to encourage more rational thinking rather than rigid behaviors which encourage people to remain in “the anxiety box.”  The author then advocates watching and waiting, developing an attitude of mindfulness towards the physical acts of breathing and the somatic symptoms of anxiety, encourages readers to think inside and outside the anxiety box by viewing their anxiety at a distance, with a critical eye to the processes of catastrophizing and remaining stuck in obsessive rumination that often go on.  Perhaps of most help, the author has a chapter devoted to stepping towards discomfort, deliberately seeking out the people and situations that make one uncomfortable so as to be able to overcome such discomfort through frequent exposure.  The last three chapters of the book are devoted to encouraging the reader to keep up the attitude necessary to overcome anxious thoughts when they sneak up on us, gives some discussion of the medications that are prescribed for anxiety, and then provides encouragement to the reader to maintain helpful habits in diet (like limiting or eliminating caffeine), exercise, and sleep in order to preserve better health overall before concluding and providing resources and references for further reading and investigation.

In many ways, this sort of book is likely to be read by people who are already, at least in some way, prepared to take its comments to heart.  By consciously and deliberately avoiding direct appeals to Eastern religious beliefs, this book is designed for those who are irreligious or hostile to such heathen traditions, appealing instead to those who have a strong inclination towards intellectual understanding.  Indeed, much of this book is structured to appeal to someone comfortable with checklists, quantitative estimations of anxiety level, calculations of the fallacious nature of catastrophic prophecies of doom, and seeks to provoke a great deal of rational thought and examination of the internal systems of anxiety in the mind and body.  Those who read this book, and who complete its worksheets, are likely to be those who believe that their anxiety can be mastered and overcome, and who are willing to face what makes them feel awkward and uncomfortable so that they can be less rigid and more flexible in their thinking and in their response to the threats and dangers of life, and are likely to benefit from what this book has to offer, and to encourage others likewise.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/book-review-the-compassionate-mind-guide-to-overcoming-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/book-review-the-evil-hours/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/book-review-many-faces-of-ptsd/

 

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Book Review: Anxiety And Avoidance

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Occult America | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Understanding Trauma | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: The Ghost Of Conversations Past, Present, And Future | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: Book Review: PTSD | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: An Ode To Monsieur Jourdain, Or The Past And The Pending | Edge Induced Cohesion

  6. Pingback: Growing Up In The Millennium | Edge Induced Cohesion

  7. Pingback: The Endless Volley, Or Why I Hate The Editing Process So Much | Edge Induced Cohesion

  8. Pingback: Book Review: The Age Of Anxiety | Edge Induced Cohesion

  9. Pingback: Book Review: Childhood Disrupted | Edge Induced Cohesion

  10. Pingback: Book Review: The Alcoholism And Addiction Cure | Edge Induced Cohesion

  11. Pingback: Like No One’s Watching You | Edge Induced Cohesion

  12. Pingback: Book Review: Hidden Communion | Edge Induced Cohesion

  13. Pingback: Book Review: Life Strategies | Edge Induced Cohesion

  14. Pingback: Book Review: The Quotidian Mysteries | Edge Induced Cohesion

  15. Pingback: Book Review: Reclaiming The Art Of Biblical Meditation | Edge Induced Cohesion

  16. Pingback: Book Review: A Path To Restoration: A Study Guide | Edge Induced Cohesion

  17. Pingback: Book Review: Simplicity Of Life | Edge Induced Cohesion

  18. Pingback: Book Review: The Potential Principle | Edge Induced Cohesion

  19. Pingback: Book Review: Vanishing Tibet | Edge Induced Cohesion

  20. Pingback: Book Review: No Trolls Allowed Guidebook | Edge Induced Cohesion

  21. Pingback: Book Review: How To Overcome Worry | Edge Induced Cohesion

  22. Pingback: Book Review: The Anxious Christian | Edge Induced Cohesion

  23. Pingback: Book Review: The Body Keeps The Score | Edge Induced Cohesion

  24. Pingback: Book Review: God’s Way Of Peace | Edge Induced Cohesion

  25. Pingback: Audiobook Review: Stopping The Noise Inside Your Head | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s