Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear by Stan Popovich

A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non-Resistant Methods is an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties

Stan has interviewed various professionals in the counseling field and has over 15 years of personal experience in dealing with fear and anxiety. Stan’s book addresses a wealth of successful techniques for the management of fear, anxiety, recovery, addiction, depression, stress and other mental health issues.

An Excerpt:

Fear is universal. It’s not restricted to any age, class or culture. Everyone deals with fear—in varying forms and intensity—at certain times. For some, it’s easily managed; for others, it’s terrifying and difficult to overcome, if not hopeless.

“Fear,” says Father Howard Campbell, “is a strong force in people’s lives. It’s an emotion based on experience. Certain events, people or encounters may activate fear, which, in turn, may lead to anxiety, worry, and panic.” A Catholic priest for more than fourteen years, Father Howard is currently a pastor in Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in systematic theology and divinity.

Typically, fear creates a sense of personal danger. Elderly people may fear loneliness; young people, rejection; and professionals, failure. In many cases people are afraid of the future, change or difficult situations, such as a finding the right job or developing meaningful relationships.

Fear can be a good thing when it protects people from harm. Parents instill fear and define danger when they teach children not to touch fire, run into the street or play with dangerous animals. But fear can manifest as anxiety or a phobia, says Father Howard, who has considerable experience counseling people facing their fears.

A phobia is a chronic fear based on circumstances that may defy rational or logical thought. A person may be afraid of heights, even though there is no danger of falling. This work doesn’t address phobias or any precursors to mental illness; a person with a particular phobia should see a mental health professional. The author does not intend this work to substitute for using the guidance of a mental health professional.

Rather, this work deals with more generalized fears that are common in daily life and presents a general overview of effective methods to combat those fears. The author is not a professional in the psychology or religious fields; however, through his research, including discussions with professionals in those fields, he summarizes several techniques that are effective in managing persistent fear.

Fear appears in many different forms depending on the person and the situation. The following sections discuss three powerful but different approaches for managing fear:

General Counseling Techniques
Asking God’s Help
Non-resistant Methods

General Counseling Techniques cover a broad range of methods to manage and/or overcome fear. Asking God’s Help encourages the individual to rely on the power of a personal, spiritual relationship with God. Non-resistant Methods are effective when a person’s fear is so strong that it’s extremely difficult to overcome. Instead of fighting it, the person learns to work with it. This work describes how to use the three methods together, followed by a sampling of professional resources and a few Biblical verses that offer particular messages of comfort and inspiration.


Lois said...

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Stanley Popovich presents his guide to overcoming fear and anxiety in the form of a common sense booklet accessible to all ages. Stan explores three different approaches to managing fear: practising general counseling techniques, asking for God’s help, and using non-resistant methods, which, when combined, can serve as a powerful tool in fear management.

Stan argues in favor of using critical thinking and deductive reasoning to manage fear, by first identifying its source and then determining its root cause. By establishing how rational a particular fear is, one can evolve solutions and options to manage it. Through numerous case studies throughout the book, Stan shows how to overcome fear and anxiety step by step.

Providing not only his own insights into fear-filled situations, Stan also relies upon experts in the field, who express their thoughts about the problem. Father Howard Campbell, a systematic theology and divinity master’s graduate, discusses how the disabling effects of fear can manifest as anxiety or a phobia, while Larry Sutton, a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. in counselor education, reveals how to overcome anxiety in job seeking.

An ideal text for any graduate beset with the difficulty of finding work, A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear shows how to break down the otherwise formidable task of job searching into a series of smaller, less daunting steps. Stan shows how harnessing determination and commitment can lead to the motivation to succeed. Positive reinforcement and self imagery is seen as a way through any crisis. This balanced text considers both the down and up side of imagination: the down side, as a source of fear, and the up side, as an aide in positive visualization exercises. Apart from considering the cognitive aspects of the techniques he explores, Stan also explains the importance of physical exercise to the development of a positive mindset. He encourages the reader, when in doubt, to consider both mental health practitioners and other experts in the medical field.

Stan shows how using non-resistant methods empowers the individual to reduce the strength of what might otherwise be overwhelming fear, thereby making it easier to manage. Making friends with God and developing a foundation of trust in the Lord is the third option that Stan presents for the overcoming of fear. He explores the power of prayer both in and outside church, as well as the strengthening of will that comes from reading the Bible and other inspirational books. Holding a religious symbol can provide tangible comfort, too. Stan also shows how Father Howard has been able to counsel those facing life-threatening illnesses to find the root cause of their fears.

Stan closes his book with a short list of organizations that can provide help and guidance for dealing with fear and other mental health issues, followed by some key Bible verses on how to deal with fear, as well as how to trust in God. He concludes by urging the reader to develop his or her personal strategy for coping with problems.

In brief, within relatively few pages, A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear packs a powerful punch and is well worth the read.

Karina Fabian said...

Hi, Lois,

Thanks for taking time to post your review on this site! I think that's a first for VBTdeNet. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and know folks will find your review helpful.