Ryerson fear expert rattled by snakes

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By Kate Oliver

Ryerson psych prof Martin Antony has another entry to add to his 43-page resume as he releases his 18th book, this one on confronting phobias.

Antony’s new self-help book, Mastering Your Fears and Phobias, claims that by using the exercises in the book one can conquer their fear in weeks. From the fear of blood, to heights, to driving, the book says that it has a success rate of 90 per cent.

“I like making a difference,” says the professor who teaches a behavioural disorder class.“The course is challenging. It’s not too easy and not too difficult.”

Antony likes to get involved and personal in his class. He’ll often bring in videos of himself treating patients so students have an idea of what to expect when helping them.

Antony uses a variety of different treatments to help patients with social anxiety.

He starts off by making them look at the phobia to bring down the nervousness. Afterwards, he’ll incorporate a variety of relaxation and meditation techniques, as well as recommending exercising.

“It’s very gentle, they’re never forced to do anything,” Antony says when exposing patients to their phobias in a safe environment.

But psychology wasn’t always what Antony wanted. He initially studied medicine at the University of Toronto but then realized he had more fun (and higher marks) in his psychology courses than calculus or biology.

Before coming to Ryerson in September, Antony was also a psychologist and Director of Research at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

He also traveled across the country as well as the U.S., Europe and Australia giving lectures and presentations to other psychologists.

All this and he still has time to write more than 100 articles on anxiety disorders and behaviour therapy, in addition to maintaining a clinical practice.

Antony doesn’t have any phobias of his own but he once had to handle a snake duing a session with a patient. “I’m not scared of them, I just don’t like to hold them.”

In addition to Mastering Your Fears and Phobias, Antony has two more books that he’ll be adding to his curriculum vitae next year. One of them is a 1000-page text dealing with anxiety disorders that he is writing and editing with other psychologists.

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