Why I don’t believe in: The Anxiety Cure by Klaus Bernhardt

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Today I am a rebel. The review you can find below discusses my issues with a book. Now I won’t rekindle the debate about whether or not we should review books we didn’t enjoy. My blog, my choice. I find it important to let you know why this one didn’t work for me. However, I will turn off the sharing option. Tagging the author or publisher has never even crossed my mind, so we’re safe here. Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to read this post or not! 🙂

the anxiety cure

Title: The Anxiety Cure
Author: Klaus Bernhart
Date of publication: 2018
Publisher: Vermillion
Format: paperback
How did I get it: I bought it (Dulwich Books)
Pages: 175

Live a life free of anxiety in as little as just a few weeks.

If you have ever experienced anxiety and panic attacks then it can feel like there is no escape from an endless cycle of thoughts that can leave you exhausted and on edge.

Combining the latest research in neuroscience with psychotherapy, Dr Klaus Bernhardt has developed a fast and highly effective approach to anxiety. Leaving CBT and medication at the door, you’ll learn a new approach to manage your mental health that relies on neuroscience and positive psychology.

The Anxiety Cure will show you how to rewire your thoughts and responses for fast results using a series of clear examples and practical exercises which include the central component of Dr Bernhardt’s method which is a kind of journaling that will encourage you to focus on the positive elements of your everyday life and explore these through all of your five senses.

If you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks The Anxiety Cure will help you regain confidence and control.

Review

I bought The Anxiety Cure a year ago. It took me a few months to get to it, and even longer to finally begin a review.

How do I feel about this non-fiction book? I wish a Gif would help here. In a nutshell, I blame myself for falling for such a title. Of course, I was not expecting a real cure, but I was curious as a long-time anxiety sufferer. Which theories would the author pick and probe? Would he offer solutions? Would it be truly medical? After all, The Anxiety Cure is a powerful title. A promise to help struggling people with a debilitating issue that they can better understand the causes of their anxiety, how to stop it, and how to work on their thoughts patterns. What a program.

You might wonder why I gave this book a chance if I sound so skeptical. Well, a program saved my life from agoraphobia. The day I decided to give every available tool a chance was the day I found my way back to a ‘livable’ life. So when I picked The Anxiety Cure, I decided to give the author the possibility to prove what he was selling.

It took 12 pages for me to disagree.

“As long as we have to fully concentrate on something. A telephone call, for example, a tricky chore, or just a pressing deadline, then our conscious brain has enough to do and we are largely free of anxiety and worry.”

You may agree, everyone is different. But my anxiety grows with each task, or even the thought of having to do something. If I am working on something, anxiety might come and say hello, crippling me until I give up and lie on the couch feeling like a failure.

But this one a tiny element, wasn’t it? So I kept reading. I found similarities with the agoraphobia program I followed. How panic attacks work. How they are actually protecting you. Yeah, it’s crazy, isn’t it?

The truce didn’t last long.

“What I want is for you to take responsibility for your life again, instead of simply blindly relying on the pronouncements of doctors and therapists.”

While I remember having to consciously take the decision to get better, I really needed my doctor, family, friends, and medication as clutches to find a way out. I wasn’t happily waiting for others to cure me, I had not given up. The responsibility was always mine. This statement irked me. I had the voice of a father telling his kids to “snap out of it and don’t wait for everything to magically drop on your nap.”

The last traw happened during the Exposure Therapy chapter. When Klaus Bernhardt literally stated that this treatment only worked in the very early stages of anxiety, I saw red. Exposure therapy is how I managed to move to London for an internship after three years stuck in my house. Having someone telling me this exposure makes things worse, without nuance, without giving the reader the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument, felt wrong.

I then realized this was the problem. The book is clear on one point, the author has a theory and a cure to sell, and no other options are valid. Anxiety, or more broadly, mental health, is so much more complicated than this. A treatment might work wonders with someone but completely fail with someone else.

What I have learned from my battles is that trying is winning, and this book had me wanting to shout it loud!

The remaining of the book, filled with stats and examples from Mr Bernhardt’s personal cure experiences, didn’t make me change my mind and felt more like an ad sold to get you to his clinic.

I will keep giving books about anxiety a try because I want to keep learning and give my personal opinion on what is out there. But this case reminded me to be careful. After putting the copy back on my shelf, I wondered if people had found help through this book.

In the end, I just hope no one felt worse after reading it than they did before.

about the author.png

Klaus Berhardt is a psychotherapist and runs his own anxiety-focused clinic in Berlin. He developed his treatment methods with staggering success rates which are detailed in his first book The Anxiety Cure. His podcasts have now been heard by more than 350,000 people in 80 countries and supporting information can be found on his website: http://www.Panikattacken-loswerden.de

36 thoughts on “Why I don’t believe in: The Anxiety Cure by Klaus Bernhardt

Add yours

  1. Meggy, this is my view completely on years of anaesthetising patients for various surgery.
    as a doc though not a psychiatrist, I do know that doctors know only 30% of the functioning of the brain. Anyone who claims to know everything is generally fooling himself. We hardly know where is the Centre for various functions of the body in the brain. Hence treatment is often multi-modal. What works for one may not work for others. We are all wired differently with different pathways in the brain.
    I find it very odd that as docs I know each human is different and yet we use or propagate the same therapy for everyone and call it protocol.
    Hence I rarely use books, I have started getting panicked nowadays. So I use what works for my body/brain to calm down. Sorry I think I went tangential.
    I am not sure if my panic or anxiety can be cured, but I think it can be controlled so that I have the tools to deal with it. Makes sense?

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  2. Personal experience is a great sounding board, I like how you made the comparison from your own life and decide this wasn’t for you.
    I personally use my own technique to overcome ‘issues’. I ask the gut in the mirror if he knows what he is doing and how can I trust him?

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  3. Great review. I’m not sure there’s ever a single cure for anxiety so I would be a little skeptical of the title too. Everyone is different so as far as I’m concerned it’s about trying different things and seeing what works for you. Concentrating on a task for example does work for me a lot of the time, it’s during the quiet times when my mind wanders that I’m more prone to anxiety attacks. This book does sound like it has the potential to make everything worse.

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  4. This is such a great review and I’m so glad that you decided to post it. I haven’t read this book but over the years I’ve read books like it that have angered me the way this one angered you. All the years I was in the clutches of PTSD the anxiety was there all of the time, the anxiety was then heightened by anything that I had to do. I think I might have thrown this book at the wall in frustration! It’s important to other anxiety sufferers to know which books might be helpful and which might not so thank you for sharing this today. xx

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    1. Thank you so so much for your comment, Hayley! I really was worried about posting it but I believe a book that sounds more harmful than helpful shouldn’t end up in hands that need tools to feel better. I am still so mad at this non-fiction for telling people there is one magic cure. Thank you again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Meggy. A really good and honest review. Also a brave one to post.
        It’s a very bold title for a non fiction book isn’t it. I guess the positive to be taken from it is that these methods probably helped the author. But anxiety is most definetly not a ‘ one size fits all’.
        Amanda xx

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  5. I admire you for giving the book a chance despite your scepticism. Your thoughts on the issues with it seem completely valid to me. I think promising a ‘cure’ for something as complex as anxiety which manifests itself in so many different ways for different people is, at best, over simplistic. Like you, I hope no one reads the book and ends up feeling they have ‘failed’.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m happy you decided to review this novel! I can get behind his idea of journaling because that can help to distance yourself and not get caught up in a feeling perhaps (I did this for years when I was younger) but anxiety doesn’t go away or is solved when you’re occupied, and what does doing an activity have to do with how you’re feeling? Hmm, that’s a bit easy. Not sure I’d find the answers for myself (if there are any to find of course) in this novel. Maybe it does make you think though so in that way it does have some value. Great review darling!

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    1. Writing things down definitely helps at times, but there are so many things in the book that just didn’t feel good. I don’t think this book would help you. It really feels like a brochure for his therapy. Thank you ❤ With all the "no bad reviews" debates and views, I wasn't sure I'd post it, but then I realised it was too important to stay silent. xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Having suffered from anxiety and panic attack myself, I am always looking for more information or things that might help. So I really appreciate your candid review and stating the possible problems with this book. I’d have liked a book that considers more alternatives to dealing with this instead of just trying to sell one approach.

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  8. You did an excellent job with voicing your thoughts while still keeping your review respectful! I find that quite a lot of the self-help books, though not all, carry the same trait of putting everyone under one umbrella which is wrong in so many ways. We are all different in the way we perceive things that happen to us so I’m not sure why the author decided to portray anxiety in such a simple way. I loved reading your thoughts on this book even though it’s a shame that you didn’t enjoy it!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It was not easy finding a way to convey my thoughts while staying politically correct, haha! I’m so happy you enjoyed reading this review. It was a challenge to discuss non-fiction, especially of this kind, but I felt it was so important to let people know how this book had made me feel. It only took me 6 months…!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent review! I’m really glad you shared your honest opinions on this, because that is an enticing title, but from everything you’ve said, I can tell it would not be for me (I was getting irritated just reading his thoughts second hand). I really don’t agree with the perspective that there’s one “cure all”- especially when he appears to dismiss so many existing and effective treatments like exposure therapy and CBT in general. And really really really disagree that anxiety just goes away if you’re busy (this is just not how mental health issues work).

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