"THE SKY IS FALLING: Understanding and Coping with Phobias, Panic and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders" by Raeann Dumont

"THE SKY IS FALLING: Understanding and Coping with Phobias, Panic and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders"

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With a bit of humor and a lot of charity, a therapist shares her unusual experiences with people suffering from crippling phobias, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and describes how she helps them. Therapist Dumont practices cognitive/behavioral therapy in real-life settings, which means that she doesn't just sit in an office with her fearful clients; she rides elevators and crosses bridges with them, and even makes house calls to those frightened of leaving home. The heart of this book is a series of case studies of some of her more anxiety-ridden clients, among them Sam, whose snake phobia reached job-threatening levels; Jerry, whose compulsion was to pick up all litter in subway stations; Janet, who felt compelled to search for bodies along the roadside; and Gracie, whose obsession with dirt led her to bathe eight hours a night for over 30 years. Dumont describes the techniques she used to help these and other clients regain control of their lives. In separate sections directed first at those people having anxiety disorders and then at those who live with or care for them, she outlines a step-by-step process in which the sufferer learns to identify the thought that sets off the phobic or obsessive-compulsive response, to test the thought's reality by observing the outside world, and to use carefully planned and documented exposures to the feared situation to assess progress, Various worksheets, charts, and diaries are involved in this process, and these are included in an appendix. Dumont is not averse to medications for OCD, and she includes a brief overview of what's currently available. For the casual reader, a fascinating trip through a world of bizarre behaviors; for the victim of an anxiety disorder or the family of such a victim, reassurance that there is a path out.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Norton