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Anxiety and Avoidance


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In Anxiety and Avoidance, psychologist and anxiety disorder expert Michael Tompkins presents a universal protocol to help you cope with anxiety, panic, and fear, regardless of your particular mental health diagnosis.

About the Author

Michael A. Tompkins, PhD, ABPP, is codirector of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy; assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley; and a diplomate and founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Tompkins specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders in adults, adolescents, and children. He is the author or coauthor of numerous articles on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and related topics, as well as seven books, including three books published by New Harbinger Publications, Digging Out, OCD: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, and Anxiety and Avoidance. Tompkins serves on the Advisory Board of Magination Press, the children's press of the American Psychological Association. He is a certified supervisor and trainer for the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Tompkins has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on NPR, and has presented over 250 workshops, lectures, and keynote addresses on CBT and related topics.


Anxiety and Avoidance is an excellent guide for anyone who is anxious. Filled with self-help forms and useful tools, readers can readily find relief by following this guide. Highly recommended.
--Robert L. Leahy, PhD, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, New York, and distinguished founding fellow and diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone who experiences anxiety, panic, and fear to the extent that it has a detrimental impact on their lives. Experienced psychologist Tompkins has synthesized various approaches in an easy-to-read book, designed to help those with anxiety learn important strategies to overcome avoidance and feel more comfortable in anxious situations. In a compassionate style, he shows how to deal with the heart of the problem and how to maintain positive changes in the long term.
--Nikolaos Kazantzis, PhD, founder and director of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Research Unit at La Trobe University, Australia

In Anxiety and Avoidance, Tompkins describes tools and concepts for overcoming anxiety that are based on the latest scientific developments in the field, and on his many years of clinical experience working with adults, teens, and children suffering from anxiety's debilitating effects. Tompkins' deep understanding of anxiety and its effective treatment shines through on every page.
--Jacqueline B. Persons, PhD, director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy and clinical professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley

In this user-friendly book, Tompkins helps the reader use scientifically proven strategies to overcome problems with anxiety. Readers will learn about how anxiety problems function, how to select appropriate treatment targets, and how to implement cognitive-behavioral strategies--the most effective interventions for getting out of the anxiety cycle. Complete with lots of worksheets and illustrative examples from beginning to end, this book is a must for sufferers and therapists alike.
--Jonathan S. Abramowitz, PhD, professor and associate chair of psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Many of us have a tendency to avoid people and situations we find unpleasant and/or emotions and bodily sensations we find distressing. These habits of avoidance can inadvertently create many problems for us, contributing to negative vicious cycles, including escalations in anxiety and fluctuations in our mood. This incredible and most practical book helps us all to develop healthier habits and overcome avoidance, improve our motivation and more clearly identify our goals and values. By using the skills Tompkins provides, we can step out of the small box that many of us live in and enjoy living the biggest and fullest versions of our lives.
--Allison G. Harvey, PhD, professor of psychology and director of The Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic, University of California

Michael Tompkins has gathered the best of what works into a straightforward, no-nonsense guide that will help readers to understand why they are anxious and to develop a step-by-step plan to beat anxiety. People with a range of anxiety-related problems--from panic attacks to obsessive-compulsive disorder to phobias--will get tremendous benefit from this insightful, compassionate, and practical book.
--David F. Tolin, PhD, ABPP, author of Face Your Fears

Research consistently shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is highly effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. With the sensibility of an experienced clinician and the clarity of an excellent writer, Tompkins has distilled the wisdom of multiple CBT perspectives. Anxiety and Avoidance provides therapists and patients with a single resource that integrates empirically validated CBT treatments. Anxiety and Avoidance synthesizes practical and proven strategies and provides step-by-step instructions to lead a life less impacted by fear, apprehension, and worry.
--Dennis Greenberger, PhD, coauthor of Mind Over Mood

This book provides a refreshingly modern perspective on anxiety, panic, and fears. Packed with valuable exercises and drawing on strategies from three evidence-based therapies, the book provides readers with a variety of tools to address their difficulties in a more effective way.
--James Bennett-Levy, associate professor at the University of Sydney; coeditor of the Oxford Guide to Behavioral Experiments in Cognitive Therapy and Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Interventions; and coauthor of the Oxford Guide to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy

Tompkins does it again! This is a wonderful book that explains the antecedents of anxiety in clear, straightforward terms, and then walks the reader, step-by-step, through a series of exercises aimed at treating it. The exercises and worksheets are appropriate for all types of anxiety symptoms, and can be personalized to fit almost any situation. I will recommend it to all of my clients who struggle with anxiety.
--Carol A. Mathews, MD, director at the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Clinic and co-director of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic in the department of psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

Tompkins has made a significant contribution to the anxiety self-help literature. His work integrates elements from several established cognitive and behavioral therapies and appropriately reflects the field's growing emphasis on producing a single, unified approach to all anxiety disorders. Most importantly, Tompkins has translated complex terms and concepts into a language that can be readily grasped by consumers. Individuals with a variety of disabling fears should benefit greatly from this user-friendly resource.
--C. Alec Pollard, PhD, director at the Center for OCD and Anxiety-Related Disorders, Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, and professor of family and community medicine, Saint Louis University

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