Exercise

I begin the exercise with these instructions: "Please take out a blank piece of paper. Without showing anyone, I would like you to write down the one thing about yourself that you would be most disinclined to share with the class. When you are finished, fold your paper in half." Usually one or more students will ask me what I intend to do with the papers or push for an elaboration on the exercise. I respond by simply repeating the instructions. After everyone has indicated that they have completed the task, I collect the papers in an empty coffee can (personal choice).

Naturally, the anxiety level is significantly elevated at this point, as the students anticipate the fate of their comments. After mixing the anonymous folded papers, I walk around the classroom and ask each student to remove one from the can, instructing them not to unfold and read them until I tell them to do so. After each student has received one, I ask them to unfold the papers and not to mention if they have received their own. Following, I ask each student to individually read the written portion of his or her paper aloud to the class.

As each student reads this written portion, I mark each response under an adapted category/theme as initially described by Yalom (1995). These categories are written on a board in front of the class (but not until each one is represented), with each additional response fitting of that category marked by adding a number next to the theme. Yalom (1995, p. ) initially stated that invariably, the most frequent "revelations" include "basic inadequacy, interpersonal alienation, and sexual secret." In my adaptation, I have termed the themes as: personal flaw, difficulty with intimacy, and sexual concern. These three themes are indeed the most frequently described. As the initial responses are expressed, I suggest the aforementioned themes that I believe are the most cogent, while requesting input from the students with respect to these categories. I find that most are in agreement with the suggested themes, allowing the students to evaluate subsequent categorizations on their own. When disagreement exists among students to the specific categorization, I allow for a response to be placed under multiple themes. Following a brief period of silence to allow for absorption, I ask the students for their reactions to and feelings about the exercise.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

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