In this week’s episode I’m talking with psychologist Dr. Todd Pressman. I had the pleasure of getting to know Todd after reviewing his excellent book, Deconstructing Anxiety, which I enthusiastically endorsed. Todd has a profound understanding of fear and its many manifestations. He offers a systematic approach for recognizing your core fear—the root that underlies all the ways fear shows up in your life. And of course just as important, he outlines how to overcome your fear.
[If you’re dealing with overwhelming stress and anxiety, check out my free e-book, 10 Ways to Manage Stress and Anxiety Every Day.]
Topics we discussed include:
- Why fear is the sole cause of suffering
- The universality of fear
- Fear and fulfillment as inversely proportional fundamental drives
- How fear underlies experiences like depression and anger
- The influence of A Course in Miracles on Todd’s work
- Fear’s apparent intention to survive and continue in our lives
- The function of fear, and why it backfires
- The development of our core fears in childhood
- Fear as either a problem to solve or nothing at all
- The importance of understanding our core fear and our chief defense
- The core fear and chief defense in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- How to identify your core fear and your chief defense
- The power in doing the opposite of what our core fears compel us to do, including:
- Facing the fear directly
- Standing our ground in the face of fear
- Doing something completely unrelated to the fear and our chief defense
- The role of mindfulness in the Deconstructing Anxiety approach
- How our resistance contributes to anxiety
- The problem with trying too hard to get rid of fear
Todd mentioned his free e-book, Quotes and Stories That Can Change Your Life, available through his website.
Todd Pressman, PhD, is a psychologist, author, and international lecturer and seminar leader. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and his doctorate in psychology from the Saybrook Institute. He is the founder and director of Logos Wellness Center and Pressman and Associates Life Counseling Center, dedicated to helping people design lives of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.
Todd’s studies under some of the world’s leaders in the Consciousness movement, as well as the personal guidance he received from a father whose teachers were students of Sigmund Freud, prepared the way for his discovery of the holistic principles he espouses. His work with Olympic athletes and high performing CEOs has further honed his understanding of the secrets of excellence and the path to fulfillment.
In 1982, Todd traveled around the world to study the great Wisdom traditions, spending time with a Zen master in the monastery of Kyoto; exchanging with a Zoroastrian high priest outside the Fire Temple of Mumbai; witnessing authentic fire walking and other fakir ceremonies in the jungles of Sri Lanka and Bali; and staying with a Jain family whose reverence for life led them to put out sugar each night to feed the ants. These experiences provided a cross-cultural perspective of the extraordinary capacities of the mind and spirit, a perspective that informs and enriches Dr. Pressman’s work to this day.
Todd’s intensive personal search, including an internship in Gestalt therapy at the Esalen Institute and training under Stanislav Grof in the Spiritual Emergency Network program, complement his more traditional background.
In addition to Deconstructing Anxiety, Todd is the author of Radical Joy: Awakening Your Potential for True Fulfillment (affiliate links).
See Todd’s website for additional information about his background and experience and to download his free e-book.