I recently read The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Can Free You From Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress, by Christy Matta, MA. It's a good read for anyone who wants to learn tools for identifying, reducing, and managing stress in their life.
The author is practical, yet thoughtful, in her approach to presenting this rich material. She utilizes the framework of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, which is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that was developed in the 1980s by Marsha Linehan. DBT is a collaborative and supportive treatment method.
This read offers practical applications for coping with everyday stress, from minor irritations to strong feelings of overwhelm and chronic, unrelenting stress. The main areas of focus teach you how to: respond quickly to early signs of stress; approach stressful tasks, instead of avoiding them; cope effectively with life events that continue stress; change the catastrophic thoughts and biases that make stress worse; and practice soothing strategies for calming your body's stress response.
This book tackles all of the areas in your life that may need stress reduction, including relationships, work, and family. The author reviews techniques aimed at increasing acceptance, cultivating mindfulness, decreasing emotional suffering, trusting in yourself, changing problematic behaviors, and staying motivated in the process.
In each chapter, the author provides numerous semi-structured journaling activities that invite the reader to put their new skills to work. For example, in Chapter 2: Unwinding Your Mind, she walks you through a journal exercise (entitled, Replacing Perfectionist Thinking) to undo perfectionist thoughts, and work towards creating more accepting, less extreme thoughts. The use of actively journaling makes the ideas in this book interactive and engaging.
The book seems to be tailored to adult use; it would be great to see another edition tailored for use with adolescents. Although she strongly encourages the use of a personal journal for doing each of the presented activities, I would also love to see this book made into a workbook format for use with clients.
If you're in need of stress reduction (who isn't!!), I recommend The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Can Free You From Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress. I look forward to recommending this book to clients and colleagues.
Holland Miller, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, provides individual and group therapy for adolescents and adults in Austin, TX. Specializing in the treatment of depression, chronic low mood, and chronic stress, she incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) to enhance positive mood, healthy functioning, and overall well-being.
Dr. Miller is particularly passionate about working with adolescent girls and adult women who want to boost their mood and energy, improve their self-esteem and relationships with others, better cope with stress while reducing anxiety and tension, and develop healthy lifestyle habits for lasting wellness.
When she is not in the office, Dr. Miller enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two mischievous goldendoodles. She can be found discovering the latest Austin adventure, reading and researching, exploring the outdoors on hiking and camping trips, and trying out new recipes.
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