xiv Introduction THE PURPOSES OF THIS GUIDE The primary purpose of this guide is to set forth in detail the therapist behaviors and skills necessary for the effective application of PRT. It is not intended for use in self-relaxation. Rather, the material presented here is designed to provide therapists in many disciplines—including psychology, psychiatry, counseling, social work, nursing, and rehabilitation services, for example—with the tools they need to teach relaxation skills to their clients, either in isolation or as part of a broader program of treatment. Before you offer PRT to clients, we suggest that you read the guide care- fully and in its entirety. In fact, we believe that it is both ill-advised and irresponsible to use PRT with clients without first gaining familiarity with all its elements and variations and without a full appreciation of its complexity, the limits of its applicability, and the problems that can arise in its use. This guide was also designed to be used in research on stress and stress management, psychotherapy outcomes, and related topics. This purpose is important, because when the first edition was published in 1973, investiga- tors studying these topics had no choice but to develop their own relax- ation manuals as part of their efforts to standardize experimental procedures. Unfortunately, those manuals were not always detailed enough, or sufficiently representative of PRT to justify the label, and thus may have limited the value of the results of the experiments in which they were used. And to the extent that different investigators used differing relaxation procedures, it could be difficult to correctly interpret the mean- ing of differences in results from one study to another. Today, there are many books available to help people learn to relax on their own, but there are still few if any guides that describe PRT procedures in enough detail to allow researchers to create and administer standardized relaxation pro- grams. We hope that the third edition of this guide will continue to be used in research and, like its predecessors, will facilitate the conduct of more valid and more comparable experimental studies of psychotherapy in general, and of PRT in particular. Three chapters are new to the third edition. The first of these, “The Physiology of Relaxation,” presents what recent neuroscience research has shown to be going on in the brain and the body as the relaxation pro- cess occurs. Dr. Bruce H. Friedman, of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, is an expert in this area, and we are grateful to him and his former students, Drs. Alisa Huskey and Deanna M. Swain, for their valuable contribution to this chapter. We hope that this material will be of particular value in helping clients understand the mechanisms underlying their relaxation experience. The second new chapter, called “Case Studies in Progressive Relaxation Training,” illustrates in some
Previous Page Next Page