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The Fear Reflex by Joseph Shrand, M.D. with Leigh Devine, M.S.



Fear is a controlling and debilitating emotion that humans feel every day, from worrying about the health of loved ones to the threat of terrorism and the instability of a declining economy, and many other issues. How many times has fear prevented you from doing and saying the things that you wanted to? Why does fear impede us from experiencing life to the fullest? And what can we do to change how it all influences our thoughts and behaviors? THE FEAR REFLEX: Five Ways to Overcome It and Trust Your Imperfect Self (Hazelden; September 2014; $14.95; Original Trade Paperback) by Joseph Shrand, M.D., with Leigh Devine, M.S., is the go-to source for all of these questions and much more.

In this comprehensive guide, Dr. Shrand, a leading expert on the psychology of fear, teaches us how to use the rational parts of our brain to alter our perspectives and react logically to fears that we wrestle with daily. In fact, any one of the five senses can act as a trigger for fear and cause a reflex, such as sweating or increased heartbeat. However, some fears are created during adolescence and stay with us throughout adulthood. Regardless, Shrand contends that we are capable of reprogramming our perceptions of these reflexes and can better control our reactions to circumstances.

The best way to conquer fear is by utilizing the model Dr. Shrand created, called the I-Maximum or I-M Approach. When using the method, a person realizes that he or she is at maximum potential, doing the best that he or she can in that particular moment. As a result, inadequacy is relieved and self-confidence takes over. In order to better understand the depth of the I-M Approach, there are four domains Dr. Shrand examines in detail: The Biological Domain that dictates chemical reactions to fear, the Ic Domain that refers to how a person sees themselves, the Home Domain that explains how some fears are instilled in us by our upbringing, and the Social Domain that illustrates how we deal with fear when out in the world.

THE FEAR REFLEX then offers a clear solution for facing and overcoming fear by applying these five simple practices to your everyday life:

1. Find better ways to connect with others to reduce fear.

2. Transform fear into trust.

3. Explore our biological responses to fear.

4. Look at the role of social groups and society in fostering fear.

5. Examine the role of fear in our childhood and home life.

You can be the person you were always too fearful to be! If fear has ever held you back, then the I-M Approach in THE FEAR REFLEX will provide the tools and guidance you need to respond in a more rational way with resiliency, courage and confidence.

Joseph Shrand, M.D., is triple board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and addiction medicine; is an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and is medical director of an intervention unit for high-risk teens at the High Point Treatment Centers. He is coauthor with Leigh Devine of Manage Your Stress. Dr. Shrand lives in Marshfield, Mass. Leigh Devine, M.S., has a master’s of science degree from the Columbia School of Journalism and is a journalist, writer, and producer who has created several award-winning educational and commercial programs and documentaries. Leigh lives in New York City.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Texas, the foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children’s program, and it is the nation’s leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery.