Relaxation training is a common ingredient in many counseling programs designed to help us reduce our anxiety and stress. The classic
procedure "Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training" (PMRT, Jacobsen, 1938) involves tensing and relaxing various muscle groups while taking
note of the contrasting sensations.
Guided imagery is an alternative way to achieve a deeply relaxed state; and a third procedure, cue-controlled relaxation (also known as Bensonian relaxation), enables us to easily relax our selves when confronting the stressors of daily life.
Because it is impossible to be tense and relaxed at the same time, Wolpe (1958) used PMRT in "desensitizing" individuals
suffering from clinical phobias. Soon afterwards, PMRT became an essential part of other counseling programs including those involving the
reduction of Math Test Anxiety. Knowing how to relax is a valuable skill for handling other forms of academic anxiety as well as
occupational stress and many behavioral health problems.
Kristine Goto developed the PMRT audio program below using the original methods described by Jacobson. She also created the more
contemporary Guided Imagery program. Ester Ruiz has translated these scripts and audio files into Spanish, and Brent Downey
developed videos of these relaxation training procedures for users of American Sign Language and English Sign Language. All
audio, video, and text materials have been placed in the public domain for the benefit of everyone. Although they may be copied
and freely shared, it would be appropriate to cite the authors when doing so. Jesse Boring developed the training materials in cue-controlled/Bensonian relaxation.
Copyright © 2006-2010 John J. Horan, Ph.D.
The development of these resources was partially supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0631754). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.