Author: Dylan M. Kollman

Publisher: Beach Light Press

ISBN: 978-0-9962765-0-4

Exploring Anxiety with CBT

This is a very well written book on the subject of anxiety. The author illustrates the content with well chosen diagrams where anxiety is described as a swamp. The above feature makes the text even more accessible to a lay reader like myself. Combined with a recapitulation of the contents at the end of each chapter, it makes a very useful guide to CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as a professional psychological tool to resolve the ubiquitous dilemma caused by anxiety issues, by going to the root cause of the problem and eradicating it at source.

Anxiety presents a multifaceted appearance. Nobody is free from its scourge. The main cause as the author puts it

With great gifts comes great value. With great value comes loss potential. And with loss potential comes anxiety potential...Anxiety shows up despite the absence of actionable threads.”

When we are anxious, the most obvious way to proceed is avoidance. This is because our feelings are triggered by our evolutionary background, where we were compelled to watch out for danger at every corner. To conquer anxiety, according to the author, one has to radically change our relationship with anxiety by going through the swamps that it represents. This is called GTNA (Going Through Not Avoiding) by the author; it requires that we stay on the course that our values define for us. Avoidance of anxiety deviates us from the course that we have set for ourselves in order to fulfil our goals according to our values. This is shown very well by the diagrams. Treating anxiety by going through the swamp, thus soiling our hands and feet is what this book is all about.

The author suggests a CBT based approach as a solution to the issue of anxiety. This involves an opening of our awareness of ourselves in relation to our surroundings as expressed by the acronym CALM. The letters C, A, L and M stand for Courage, Attention Gathering, Letting Go and Anxiety Management respectively. How to use the above mentioned tools which are actually strategies designed to strengthen our spiritual muscles make up the subject of this book. The benefit of this approach is self-evident, there is a heightened existential experiencing of reality. More doors open, the world becomes a friendlier place.  Best of all, with these tools, anxiety will end up reducing its erstwhile iron grip.

In the final chapter, the author invokes the spirit of gratitude for the gift of life, even though it can be a bumpy ride at times. When one is in a position of genuine gratitude, anxiety pangs disappear.

The author makes it clear at the outset that the CBD approach would be less effective for those undergoing a life transition, e.g. people facing serious relationship, economic or health issues.

All in all, this book is a great read and could act as a pointer to the attentive reader who wishes to assess his/her own situation.

Warmly recommended.