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Deconstructing Anxiety: The Journey from Fear to Fulfillment

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In Deconstructing Anxiety, Pressman provides a new and comprehensive understanding of fear's subtlest mechanisms. In this model, anxiety is understood as the wellspring at the source of all problems. Tapping into this source therefore holds the clues not only for escaping fear, but also for releasing the very causes of suffering, paving the way to a profound sense of peace and satisfaction in life.

With strategically developed exercises, this book offers a unique, integrative approach to healing and growth, based on an understanding of how the psyche organizes itself around anxiety. It provides insights into the architecture of anxiety, introducing the dynamics of the “core fear” (one's fundamental interpretation of danger in the world) and “chief defense” (the primary strategy for protecting oneself from threat). The anxious personality is then built upon this foundation, creating a “three dimensional, multi-sensory hologram” within which one can feel trapped and helpless.

Replete with processes that bring the theoretical background into technicolor, Deconstructing Anxiety provides a clear roadmap to resolving this human dilemma, paving the way to an ultimate and transcendent freedom. Therapists and laypeople alike will find this book essential in helping design a life of meaning, purpose and enduring fulfillment.

9/19/19 - Shrink Rap Radio featured author Todd Pressman and his book on an hour-long episode. Link: https://shrinkrapradio.com/658-deconstructing-anxiety-from-fear-to-fulfillment-with-todd-pressman-phd/


Prologue: The Three Postulates



1 The Human Drama: Fear and Fulfillment—Two Drives in Conflict

2 Fear’s Survival Tactics: Deceptions and Manipulations

3 The Great Revelation

4 Three Doorways to Resolving Fear

5 Cosmogony and Psychology: Separation as the Source of Fear

6 Perception: Architect of the Separated World

7 The Core Fear and Chief Defense: A New Model of the Psyche


8 Digging for Gold: Finding the Core Fear

9 “Who Are You Really?”: Finding Your Chief Defense

10 The Master Key to Resolving Fear: “Doing the Opposite” of the Chief Defense

11 The Alchemist: Asking “What Happens Next?”

12 The Witness: Enhanced Vipassana (Mindfulness) Technique

13 The Warrior’s Stance

14 The Final Defense: Resisting Resistance

15 “Vision Questing”: The Pursuit of Fulfillment



This book explores a truly profound and important area and does so in a wonderfully readable, enjoyable fashion. Its central point is well expressed by the Upanishads: ‘Where there is other, there is fear.’ This notion is greatly expanded upon and creatively explored in the book, with the purpose of helping the reader overcome fear altogether, replacing it with the original, ultimate, and ever-present Oneness...whole, coherent, and unified.

Fear distorts our perceptions, imprisoning us in views of ourselves and the world that limit our lives and rob us of joy. In this remarkably comprehensive exploration, Dr. Pressman helps us look clearly at our fears and learn not only to face, but to transcend them. Integrating insights from diverse psychological traditions, ancient wisdom teachings, and years of clinical practice, he outlines a step-by-step process by which we can unravel our fears, reexamine our assumptions, and find lasting fulfillment. This book can help clinicians and lay people alike free their hearts and minds to live a happier, freer, richer, life.

Fear is the basic cause of anxiety, depression, anger and guilt . . . indeed, the stress reactions that are the cause of virtually all illness. Deconstructing anxiety is the key to health and happiness. This book gives you that key.

I have a personal appreciation for the tremendous impact of anxiety, fear and phobia, so I welcome this “workbook” approach written by my wonderful friend, Todd Pressman. I know Todd to be a comforting and calming person, very forthright and refreshing. It is delightful that he is sharing his personal, clinical and spiritual wisdom with us in this book. This is an important resource that must get out to people!

Todd Pressman posits that there is a Universal Oneness, a transcendent experience of fulfillment we all shared. With the rise of fear and anxiety, this original state was shattered, separating us from it and one another. In Deconstructing Anxiety, Pressman takes us on an archeological dig down through the many strata of our fears and defenses to unearth the one core fear at work below all others. More importantly, he helps us find the courage to face it head on, that we may find our way back.

A really fascinating book. I’ve never encountered a deeper analysis of fear than what Todd Pressman offers in Deconstructing Anxiety. As he weaves together many strands of psychology and other disciplines, he exposes the lies of fear that shatter our connection with fundamental wholeness. In doing so, Pressman offers a detailed plan to turn the tables and discover lasting peace.

Kudos! A truly excellent book…A great book for clients and therapists. Dr. Pressman provides insight and clarity for working through the root causes of crippling anxiety/fear that block a more fulfilling life.

An extraordinary work of love, insight and wisdom. This book weaves together various psychological models, neurophysiology, philosophical perspectives and historical references, to create a thorough and intimate approach to dealing with the fear that limits our ability to be our best. What is unique and refreshing about this work are the concrete exercises, practices and interventions, with case examples, illustrating the unique process Dr. Pressman offers us from his heart.

Todd Pressman is visionary in creating ground-breaking strategies to dismantle the stronghold of anxiety. His work has the potential to promote an “evolutionary shift”….In distilling human conflict to its fundamentals of fear versus fulfillment, he provides practical strategies to embrace emotional freedom and curate productive ways of relating to the world. From a personal and professional perspective, the tools from Deconstructing Anxiety have provided lasting outcomes with numerous emotional dividends.

Dr. Todd Pressman provides us with a book that this troubled world longs to have. With a unique integration, he maps a path for the future understanding of the human condition we are all destined to experience. This book will serve those dedicated to the healing fields as well as those seeking deeper spiritual expression.

Dr. Pressman’s latest book provides us with life-changing tools to break the cycle of fear and defense. With wisdom and humanity, he challenges us to free ourselves from the shackles of anxiety and reach our true potential...a sense of oneness with the world. Through case studies and step-by-step examples, the reader can easily put into practice the theories and principles in this life-enhancing book. As a fellow clinician, enthusiastic participant of Todd Pressman’s seminars, and fellow human searching for fulfillment, I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

This captivating book is for anyone fascinated with the workings of the human mind. It is also for anyone working with anxiety. Pressman brings a brilliant mind, warm heart and keen insight to the subject. He shows us how to live through what we had feared, and proves that fear has no substance. He suggests addressing the correct fear in the most accessible way, and leads us to solutions through practical, simple and profound exercises. Reality is re-described and perception illuminated. With examples culled from the great philosophies, religions, literature, science and stories, along with actual case histories, Pressman encourages our ability to leave behind the fears of separation, emphasizing wholeness, freedom and fulfillment.

Truly a breakthrough! An extraordinary analysis that transforms worry and anxiety into fulfillment. Integrative and complete, this book allows for a new view and experience of one’s world!

This book offers clinicians and lay people alike an unprecedented guide to understanding the origins of anxiety, and an effective strategy for living free of it. A unique perspective that draws from psychology, religion, philosophy, common sense, and years of clinical experience, it deconstructs anxiety and demystifies what can often feel nebulous to even the most seasoned clinician or self-aware individual. This book is an important tool for anyone dealing with anxiety.

[A] truly awesome book. . . a graduate level text for training psychotherapists. . . .a lifetime accomplishment. [Appropriate for] students and clinicians, as well as lay people who [seek] enhanced insight into their own or a loved one’s anxiety. [It should] become ‘state of the art’ [for] practitioners and scholars. Congratulations on this fine work.

Compelling! [This book] is not only a formula for individual freedom; it is a compendium of wisdom for . . . liberation.

Dr. Todd Pressman has taken on one of the most important questions in psychology today. Why are so many people, especially teenagers and young adults, having such psychological difficulty? Why so much fear, anxiety, disquiet and angst? [In this book], Dr. Pressman helps us to look at the deeper levels of fear, for only there can real change be made. Positive affirmations, exposure therapy, and insight therapy are all potentially helpful, but they don’t take us to the bedrock of fear, so no real cure is possible. What is required is that we acknowledge we are responsible for what we see, and we choose the feelings we experience. As Dr. Pressman expresses it, ‘We must be willing to follow fear to its most subterranean hideout.’ Only then can we be free.

A valuable therapeutic resource for either clinicians or the general public. . . [with] far reaching implications for personal well being and the wellness of society as a whole. The book presents a concise, systematic set of methods for discovering the central fear underlying most psychological difficulties. . . . As a psychologist with thirty years of clinical experience, I can most enthusiastically recommend Deconstructing Anxiety: The Journey from Fear to Fulfillment.

This is fascinating! Deconstructing Anxiety. . . is a guide to recognizing and addressing the underlying fears we all carry. . . the exercises will help readers learn to confront and remove barriers that prevent them from. . . living their best lives. [It has] substantially improved my life, helping me see my fears for the illusion they are and allowing me to move more fully into my potential.

Deconstructing Anxiety is an empowering book. It tells us that we are not the victims of our upbringing, our environment or our biochemistry. By cultivating penetrating insight and making courageous choices, we have the power to change. Part One shines a light into the dark recesses of fear and anxiety and exposes their deceits. Part Two is a step-by-step practical guide for breaking their hypnotic spell over our lives, and finding fulfillment in living our greater purpose. This is a book for all who deal with fear and anxiety in themselves or others. In other words, it is a work for everyone.

Dr. Todd Pressman does the impressive job of explaining why we have anxiety, how it’s a natural phenomenon and how to work with it as opposed to working against it! Deconstructing Anxiety is essential reading for professionals and non-professionals looking to understand and work with anxiety, resulting in a better and more self-aware tomorrow.

An exceptional book on familiar and challenging topics that we all deal with. It points out how we have become accustomed to our fear and that our investment in anxiety is costly. We learn from these pages that fear has no backbone and therefore is approachable with sincere inquiry. This book is unpretentious in its delivery and forthcoming with strategies to achieve results. I recommend suspending doubt and leveraging the exercises to conduct your own examination into the illusions of fear. This book takes what we normally process in our heads and blends it in a way to soothe our hearts.

Very insightful! Dr. Pressman draws from his knowledge and experience in psychology and
spirituality to guide us in a step-by-step approach to lessening our suffering by identifying and working through our fears. A great book for layman and professionals.

This book can help you learn to live your life without the all-consuming fear that controls our daily existence. Rising above our child-based anxiety, we can see clearly what is real and true, giving us a choice in how to act and enjoy our life, be fulfilled, and most importantly, to be happy. It has helped me personally to understand who I am, to rest and relax and not always be on guard, and has made a drastic improvement in my life.

Product Details

  • Title : Deconstructing Anxiety: The Journey from Fear to Fulfillment
  • Author: Pressman, Todd E.
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • ISBN: 9781538125410

Todd E. Pressman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, speaker, and author in the field of holistic approaches to healing and growth. He is the founder of Pressman and Associates at Logos Wellness, a psychotherapy center dedicated to bridging the best of traditional and complementary strategies for well-being. In 1982, he traveled the world to study the great wisdom and healing traditions—including with a Zen master, a Jain family, a Zoroastrian high priest and a Sri Lankan firewalker—to develop a new paradigm for healing which he calls deconstructing anxiety. A national and international speaker, his unique approach to resolving fear and transcending suffering has been hailed as “a whole new perspective on anxiety”, “extraordinarily important”, and “one of the most exciting new developments in the field”.


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