Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: Overcoming Anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety
by David Berndt

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for relief for anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style. Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management.

You will learn:
  • A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
  • Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
  • How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
  • How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
  • Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.

Designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.


This review was a little different for me, fellow readers. First of all, as you can see above, it is non-fiction. Not only is it non-fiction, but it is a self-help book (or whatever name they are classifying self-help with these days). Aside from that, however, reviewing this was different for two reasons (1) I am in the mental health field (as a case manager at a university counseling center; I have my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology) and (2) I have dealt with anxiety all my life - since I was a kid.

It just got real folks.

As for the book - it gives fantastic techniques for recognizing and "dealing" with your anxiety - but it does more than that. One of the many awful aspects of anxiety is that it helps distort your thoughts, disorienting you, and maybe even making you believe things that aren't true. It's so much easier to believe the negative - especially when anxiety wants to be your best friend. This book, through its thorough explanations offers the reader a fresh look at their anxiety. It offers an opportunity to recognize what is happening with your thoughts and techniques on how to turn it around in the best attempt to "turn it off."

As it explains in the book, anxiety in and of itself is not a bad thing to experience. It is what alerts us, motivates us, etc. It is when the anxiety is overwhelming where it becomes something of a problem. Dealing with anxiety is not about making it go away forever 100%. It is about managing it so that we can feel it and still be "okay."

During my practicum (think of it like an internship), I counseled many individuals. It was a year (and then some when the center asked for me to come back to fill in an empty spot on their staff) of listening and attempting another perspective for many individuals. I heard a lot of awful things. Anxiety, sadly, was one of the most common worries I heard about. Maybe it was because it hit close to home, but it was also the worry that made me the most empathic toward my clients. Anxiety is not something that we have to let overcome our lives, yet it is so easy to let it do just that. With the help of this book and others like it as well as reaching out to mental health professionals - we can learn to feel anxiety without letting it become our ruler. Learning a set of skills/techniques like learning to distract yourself, mindfulness, and breathing exercises can help overcome that downward spiral of anxiety.


If you or someone you know has problems with anxiety, pick this book up. It is a good start and a way for you to recognize what is going on.

About the Author

David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests TheMultiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services. He also contributes to several psychology websites including

Praise for Dr. Berndt’s work:

About Overcoming Anxiety

“Dr. Berndt is a creative and forward-thinking psychologist who has contributed to advancing psychology both with his research and clinical practice. He has helped countless patients with their depression and anxiety, and his conversational and accessible style of writing makes Overcoming Anxiety a book you would want for your top shelf.

- Charles Kaiser, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the College of Charleston


1 comment:

  1. Celia,
    Thanks for your review, and for featuring Overcoming Anxiety on Book Fidelity.