EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PHOBIAS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK by Neal & Julie Wang Olshan

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT PHOBIAS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unpretentious look at phobias and the methods--chiefly drawn from behavior therapy--by which phobias are scaled down to size. Psychologist Olshan and science writer Wang explain why and how phobias first develop (unresolved fears, ignorance); their effect on the body (from fatigue to gastrointestinal disturbance); and the varieties thereof--an index at the back lists several hundred possibilities. (Most unusual? 'Autophobia,"" or fear of flutes.) Though lay readers may find this section informative, most will probably be more interested in the methods of phobia reduction. Here, however, the material is somewhat disappointing: myriad ways to relax and gradually desensitize yourself, by means of a hierarchy of fear-producing stimuli. If you're afraid of flying, for example, you start by visualizing pictures of airplanes in magazines and end up imagining yourself in a vibrating plane. Much is made of the differences between autogenic relaxation and progressive relaxation procedures; but again this will be of little interest to a nonprofessional audience. Like Joseph Wolpe's Our Useless Fears (p. 1006), this falls into a crack between self-help and psychiatrist's manual; but it is a bit more accessible in tone and substance than the Wolpe book.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1981
Publisher: Beaufort--dist. by Scribners