FROM PANIC TO POWER: The Positive Use of Stress by John J. Parrino

FROM PANIC TO POWER: The Positive Use of Stress

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This treatment of a well-worn topic falls in the crack between professional and popularized: too elementary in its explanations of physiological and behavioral processes for Parrino's fellow-psychologists, too mired in its medical-journal tone for the average layman. Pity, because Parrino is more apt than most to integrate all the stress-responsive elements of the human organism: he defines the Human Response System as sifting together thoughts, physiological responses, and overt behavior to produce what we recognize as emotional states. Anxiety, anger, and depression--emotions which result from such stresses as approval-seeking and perfectionism--provide the organism's emotional feedback: when excesses of such feedback are ignored, hypertension, heart disease, and other physical symptoms result. Parrino meticulously recounts, in no-nonsense detail, some edge-of-the-seat case histories; most spectacular is ""Paul,"" a TV news director whose maladaptive coping mechanisms (denial and avoidance of feedback) provoked a severe stress reaction that mimicked the course of a terminal neurological disease. The recommended course of action to combat excessive stress? One that addresses all the elements of the Human Response System: rational-emotive therapy for disordered thought; the ""relaxation response,"" desensitization, and imagery training, as called for, in the ease of anxious physiological reactions; and behavior modification for symptomatic problems like smoking and overeating. But there's not enough discussion of the pitfalls involved in each of these treatments to make this an objective psychological treatise; and there are not enough concrete specifics for the harried executive or homemaker to hang onto.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1979
Publisher: Wiley