x Foreword Joseph Wolpe’s creation of systematic desensitization (graduated, repeated, imaginal exposure in a deeply relaxed state) for phobias, in the late 1950s. In the early to mid-1960s, Peter Lang and colleagues conducted the very first experimental evaluations of a psychotherapy technique. They found that systematic desensitization yielded a superior treatment outcome for phobias as compared to no treatment and placebo conditions. An explo- sion of experimental outcome investigations on desensitization began soon thereafter, and it expanded over subsequent decades to include scien- tific investigations of a multitude of therapies developed for many different psychological disorders. That history ultimately led directly to the estab- lishment of the empirically supported treatments criteria that we have today and the list of therapy methods that have been scientifically vali- dated thus far, a list that included several therapies containing relaxation techniques. My advisor, Doug Bernstein, realized in those early days that there was a critical need for an instructional manual that would lay out in a system- atic, detailed, rigorous, and client-sensitive way the best methods for con- ducting effective progressive relaxation training (PRT) sessions. He saw that this would serve two purposes. First, it would create a resource for practicing clinicians that would allow them to learn precisely the tech- nique on their own. Second, it would provide an operational definition of the technique for clinical scientists to use in therapy outcome research, thus maximizing replicability across experimental investigations. He asked me, his graduate student, to join him in the writing of such a manual. This collaboration ultimately became for me one of the highlights of my professional life. Realizing that this little manual has been so successful in accomplishing its two purposes over the past nearly half century always brings a smile to my face. I learned early in my own career just how effec- tive the manual was as a training device when I began using it with my own students. I would give copies of the manual to them and ask them to study it carefully and thoroughly on their own. They were then asked to make, within a week, a recording of themselves conducting a complete PRT session with a willing colleague. The vast majority of my students learned to do PRT nearly perfectly, with only minor adjustments needed. Furthermore, the manual eventually became (and perhaps still remains) the most frequently cited resource in therapy outcome investigations that used PRT as one of its treatment elements or as a treatment condition itself. Let me be clear about that smile on my face. Doug asked me to write two chapters (one on the physical setting for PRT, and one on hypnosis, drugs, and relaxation) and to do a literature review on any existing PRT research for inclusion in the chapter on the background of relaxation
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