This relaxation technique is based on a form of self-hypnosis and is taught to the patient by the therapist. The patient is given the following instructions: * Lie in a comfortable position and breathe slowly and deeply. * Imagine a warmth and heaviness beginning at your toes, then spreading to your lower legs. * Legs begin to feel heavy.
* Enjoy the warmth, heaviness and relaxation of your legs. * Imagine that the warmth and heaviness is spreading to your upper legs. * Allow your legs and feet to relax in the warmth and heaviness. * Imagine the warmth spreading to the rest of your body, your arms, hands and fingers. * Relax in the warmth and heaviness of your body.
* Imagine that your shoulders and neck are warm and relaxed. * Your mind is also relaxed, but you are not sleepy.
* You can focus your mind on anything you wish.
When you are completely relaxed, begin the visualisation part of the therapy. Visualisation involves thinking about the event or situation that is likely to cause anxiety. By the use of a “Fear Ladder” the situation can be familiarised and associated fear or anxiety can be reduced. As an example, travelling by aircraft is used. The first step on the ladder is the planning of the trip. Think about the planning of the trip, the visit to the travel agent, whether or not you can book seats, what time of day you prefer to travel. This may cause anxiety – if it does, go back to the relaxation technique above. Do not move to the next step of the ladder until you have become completely comfortable and anxiety-free about the first step. This may take hours, days or even weeks, and some steps on the ladder may take longer than others. When you are completely comfortable with the first step, move on to the second step – packing for the trip. Decide what you want to pack for your trip, concentrating on what you plan to wear on the journey, and what you will take onto...