The authors have put forth this book as a primer of behavior therapy techniques for dealing with the neuroses. They chose to report on phobias, sexual inadequacies, and inhibitions, as well as lesser problems. However, they make claims for more general efficacy in dealing with all neurotic problems. They view neuroses as learned, unadaptive reaction habits which are accompanied by anxiety, and as such are remediable by techniques derived from classical learning theory, including such things as counterconditioning and positive reconditioning.
Through counterconditioning the arousal of anxiety by a stimulus is inhibited by the evocation of a "competing response," such as muscle relaxation, an example of the "reciprocal inhibition principle" (which is not discussed or elaborated in the book). Assertive actions and sexual arousal can also inhibit anxiety responses. Positive reconditioning operates by rewarding adaptive behavior and by not rewarding unadaptive