In each of the previous editions of this volume, we began this chapter by noting that we live in a world full of tension and anxiety in which relaxation is a much-sought-after goal. The chapter for the second edition (Bernstein & Carlson, 1993) was written during the time of the Persian Gulf War, and the chapter for this edition was written after the invasion of Iraq and the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist incidents. Although much has changed during the decade between versions of this chapter, the search for relaxation remains important, especially for those in whom emotional arousal produces severe subjective distress, overt behavioral problems, and damage to various organ systems. Clinicians and researchers seeking nonpharmacological methods of promoting relaxation and combating anxiety have developed a number of useful procedures, the most popular of which is referred to as progressive relaxation training. As noted in the introductory chapters of this volume, progressive relaxation training is not a single method but a group of techniques that vary considerably in procedural detail, complexity, and length. Our goal in this chapter is to focus attention on the form known as abbreviated progressive relaxation training (APRT) and to update the scientific literature that has been developed over the past 10 years concerning the use of APRT.
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