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These books were reviewed in our 2000 to 2002 issues.
Click here for reviews in 1994 to 1996 issues, 1997 to 1999 issues, 2003 to 2005 issues, 2006 to 2010 issues, 2011 to 2013 issues.

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I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors

I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D. Sidran Press 1995

This was the first and is considered one of the best general books for trauma survivors. It is directed to the survivors of trauma themselves, explaining the nature of PTSD and describing the healing process. The author explains how post-traumatic stress disorder impacts – far beyond the misconception that it is a problem of the battlefront – on survivors of crime, family violence, traffic accidents, rail disasters, sexual abuse, rape and many other kinds of trauma. The book is almost indispensable as a guide to:

  • ascertaining whether you do have PTSD.
  • coping with post-traumatic grief, anger and guilt.
  • identifying the triggers for flashbacks and anxiety attacks.
  • recognizing all the related problems, e.g. depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem.
  • dealing with the insensitivity of others.
  • finding hope and empowerment.

It includes many useful techniques and self-help suggestions for safe recovery as well as moving on in the form of information, exercises and insights. Specific traumas and techniques for dealing with them are explained in terms that give hope to the many trauma survivors who believe they can never get over the trauma. Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D. operates a private psychotherapy practice, where she specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder and child sexual abuse. She has written several other handbooks dealing with PTSD including Vietnam Wives, Trust After Trauma, When the Bough Breaks: A Helping Guide for Parents of Sexually Abused Children, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide and, most recently, Survival Guilt. or or

Dancing With Fear : Overcoming Anxiety in a World of Stress and Uncertainty

Dancing With Fear : Overcoming Anxiety in a World of Stress and Uncertainty by Paul Foxman. Jason Aronson Inc. 1996.

This is the story of the author’s own anxiety condition and the mind-body approach to overcoming it, covering how to relax, stop worrying, handle anxiety and panic attacks and change the thinking patterns that create the anxiety. He discusses the hard working, perfectionistic, approval seeker anxiety prone personality and works with this type of personality to overcome the anxiety disorder and build on the small successes. or or


Anxiety and Panic Attacks : Their Cause and Cure : The Five-Point Life-Plus Program for Conquering Fear

Anxiety and Panic Attacks : Their Cause and Cure : The Five-Point Life-Plus Program for Conquering Fear by Robert Handly, Pauline Neff. Fawcett Books Mass Market Paperback. 1990

This is a simple, easy-to-follow method for controlling anxiety and panic attacks developed by a stress management consultant who has been there! It is comprised of a five-step program designed to conquer fear, reduce anxiety and change bad habits – without the use of drugs – through changing the self-image, positive thinking and goal setting. The step-by-step program untaps creative powers to help change your thinking, develop a confident self-image, use positive and rational thinking to see things as they really are – not as you imagine them and to be the person you want to be. or or

From Panic to Power : Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life.

From Panic to Power : Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett. HarperPerennial. 1996

Lucinda Bassett is the motivational speaker who developed the internationally acclaimed Attacking Anxiety program. The powerful program teaches people to think differently and react less anxiously and covers developing self-confidence and preventing negative self-talk. or or

The Feeling Good Handbook

The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns. Plume Publishers, Inc. 1999.

Dr. David Burns was one of the pioneers of drug-free cognitive therapy for the clinically depressed. The Feeling Good Handbook uses cognitive therapy to deal with everything from chronic nervousness, panic attacks and phobias to procrastination, self-defeating attitudes and feelings of stress, guilt and inferiority. Charts, weekly self-assessment tests and a daily mood log are used to assist readers in gaining control. These include the Burns Anxiety Inventory and the Burns Depression Checklist which are mood tests to help you determine if you are suffering from depression or anxiety. or or


The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs: Straight Talk for Best Results

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs: Straight Talk for Best Results by Edward H. Drummond. John Wiley & Sons April 2000.

This comprehensive consumer guide explains how to safely use psychiatric medications and how to combine their use with that of other treatments for anxiety disorders and depression, as well as for several other psychiatric disorders. Edward Drummond, MD trained in psychiatry at Harvard University and is the Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Centre in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Many years of experience enable him to comprehensively explain how respective medications work, the symptoms which they may improve, side effects and how to manage them and the precautions which should be undertaken when treating a disorder with medication. He provides the reader with the complete information needed to thoroughly understand his/her treatment options and, in addition, covers a wide range of dietary treatments, exercise, and relaxation techniques, as well as such non-drug therapy as meditation, self-hypnosis and yoga. Most importantly, in the current climate of interest in natural therapies, he is explains how drug, non-drug and alternative therapies can be combined for the most effective results.

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs: Straight Talk for Best Results is entirely what it promises to be – a complete guide to the treatment options for anxiety disorders and, consequently empowers the patient in taking control of his/her own therapy. or or

Triumph Over Shyness: Conquering Shyness & Social Anxiety

Triumph Over Shyness: Conquering Shyness & Social Anxiety by Murray B. Stein, John R. Walker. McGraw-Hill. New York. 2001

Providing a combined psychological and medical approach to controlling debilitating shyness and social phobia, Triumph Over Shyness has been called a roadmap to the diagnosis and treatment of social anxiety disorder. The first book of its kind, it is, in fact, a guide to the management of social anxiety and features all the new treatments available for people fighting the problem which can seriously inhibit the day-to-day life of millions of sufferers. Social anxiety and extreme shyness strike people of all ages and ranges from being uncomfortable when around unfamiliar people or situations to the various performance anxieties including public speaking, examination and dating anxiety. This book is for everybody, explaining the medical terminology and tackling the problem with both sensitivity and humour. It explains the genetic influences, the impact of embarrassment and shame, the indications of shyness and social anxiety and what you can do about them. Case histories, techniques to help in controlling shyness and social anxiety and up-to-date information on medications and treatments are all used to help improve lives, manage the physical symptoms and control negative and anxious thoughts.

Triumph Over Shyness is written by two experts in the field and is endorsed by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, the primary organization in the U.S. involved in the cure and control of anxiety disorders. A clinical psychologist, John R. Walker is Director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at St. Boniface General Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba. He is well-known for his research on anxiety disorders and epidemiology and is an advocate of self-help approaches to the treatment of anxiety disorders. Murray B. Stein, M.D. is Director of the Anxiety & Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Program at University of California San Diego. Like Dr. Walker, he has been conducting research into anxiety disorders and their treatment for many years. His expertise and interest in psychobiology and psychopharmacology has extended to serving as principal investigator for a number of publicly funded clinical studies. Both men have published large numbers of peer-reviewed papers and written and participated in books on their speciality.

Triumph over Shyness is a book written for social anxiety sufferers and their friends and families and designed to help them understand the problem and what they can do about it. It includes:

  • Guidelines for coping with social situations.
  • The advantages and disadvantages different kinds of therapy.
  • Stories of people who have successfully overcome their social phobia.
  • Resources and support systems to draw upon.
  • Worksheets and checklists.
  • Medications and treatments.

Case histories are used to illustrate the subject matter in each chapter and there is an entire chapter for parents on helping their children to handle shyness. This is a must-read for anybody involved in battling social anxiety – whether shyness or social phobia – in themselves or somebody close to them. or or


Healing Fear

Healing Fear by Edmund J. Bourne Ph.D. Mjf Books.

This excellent resource evolves from Edmund Bourne’s previous books, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook and Beyond Anxiety and Phobia: A Step-By-Step Guide to Lifetime Recovery, both of which are considered milestones in self-help for people with anxiety disorders.

Beginning by sharing his own struggles, Bourne goes on to discuss the need to restore connections with self, family, community and God before providing in-depth help on the lifestyle changes, health, nutrition and exercise needed to control anxiety disorders. The tools and strategies for fighting fear which he has previously advocated have evolved to include the need for spirituality in life. A chapter entitled Developing Your Observing Self is proving to be very powerful for readers and the use of various forms of relaxation and finding meaning in life open new perspectives on attaining lasting relief and recovery from anxiety. The changes required in the perception and pace at which life is lived such as finding purpose, viewing adversity from a spiritual perspective, faith, overcoming perfectionism, both being considerate of and relying upon others, tolerating uncertainty, learning to love – to name just a few – are all demonstrated.

The last chapter, entitled Acquiring Courage is a list of things to do in order to heal fear daily and avoid the accumulation of stress.

Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child

Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child by Katharina Manassis, MD FRCP (C). Barron’s Educational Series. July 1996

Explaining what anxiety is and what it is not, Keys to Parenting Your Anxious Child is an extremely helpful book for parents trying to cope with, and effectively help, a child with an anxiety disorder. The range of anxiety disorders which children, especially those with several generations of family members exhibiting symptoms, is described – from milder difficulty in adjusting to changes and new situations through anxiety about going to school, sleeping alone, difficulties in making friends, fear of speaking in social situations to severe phobias, panic attacks and the avoidance behaviours associated with them.

Dr. Manassis addresses the effect of the child’s problem on the rest of the family, the impact of various parenting styles on the situation and the medications which may be necessary in overcoming the anxiety. She offers useful advice on communicating both the problem and needs of the child to other people, e.g. school personnel, and provides a comprehensive system for charting the child’s behaviour to track progress. The book also shows parents how to recognize anxiety, allowing a head-start in dealing with the resulting problems before difficulties accelerate, and when professional help is required.

The author is a child psychiatrist at the renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, where she directs the anxiety disorders program. Her straight forward manner, in explaining how to deal with a child’s anxieties, has helped and reassured many parents. or or

The Anxiety Book: Developing Strength in the Face of Fear

The Anxiety Book: Developing Strength in the Face of Fear by Jonathan Davidson, Henry Dreher. Published by Penguin Putnam.

The Anxiety Book is a brilliant new tool for defeating anxiety, fear and panic. It includes questionnaires to ascertainwhich anxiety disorder is the problem, treatment information and a five-point recovery plan covering relaxation, cognition, diet, exercise, herbs and medications. And it is written by a high profile advocate of anxiety disorders research and treatment, assisted by a veteran science writer. This is a most important book in terms of proven methods and expert advice but it is Dr. Davidson’s positive conviction, borne out by clinical evidence, that anxiety symptoms can be overcome, and sufferers gain stronger emotional health from their experience, that sets it apart. Jonathan Davidson, M.D. is the Director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at Duke University Medical Centre and has been treating and studying anxiety disorders for most of his career. His award-winning published research ranges from clinical psychopharmacology to the study of herbs and everything in between.

The Anxiety Book covers the five anxiety categories – panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder – individually providing information on symptoms and self-assessment tests for each of them. Treatment strategies are tailored to both the disorder and category of therapy – exposure therapy, meditation, diet, progressive muscle relaxation, herbal remedies – providing a broad range of substantiated options. or or
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