There is no need to delve, into the past to help somebody lose his worries,"" Dr. Marks insists. Modern approaches to treatment bypass years on the couch and stress instead direct intervention, graduated exposure to difficult situations, and the systematic completion of anxiety-reducing tasks. His survey of common fears--phobias, obsessions, sexual inhibitions--could safely be consulted by the timid and the utterly incapacitated; his tone is wholly supportive as he describes small irrationalities which have mushroomed into pointless, time-consuming habits and bizarre cases which have been successfully treated, like the woman who used three bars of soap a day or the man who couldn't urinate at home. Most, however, are less extreme: people unable to touch velvet, ride in elevators, or approach dogs. Marks disputes the traditional psychiatrists' contention that symptoms extinguished without regard to source will emerge in some other area (""Research has shown time and again that this notion is largely groundless"") and he also gives qualified endorsements of electroshock techniques and psychosurgery, radical treatments which are controversial in almost all instances. Fluent and informative.