Binghamton University graduate Jerry D. Duvinsky recently published a book on psychology meant to help students who procrastinate due to anxiety and stress — a problem he believes is common among college students.
According to Duvinsky’s book, “How to Lose Control and Gain Emotional Freedom,” procrastination is not the underlying issue behind bad grades and low functionality but occurs as a byproduct of the anxiety and stress that students never truly deal with. According to Duvinsky, students should release their “dark emotions” in order to increase their functionality in school and other aspects of life.
“Procrastination is an avoiding mechanism, so what is it that they are avoiding? Not the work, but their feelings associated with doing work,” Duvinsky said. “Fears of failure, fears of not living up to social expectations, et cetera. I lead them into the fear.”
Duvinsky, who was awarded his doctorate in clinical psychology from BU in 1990, researched how people should deal with dark emotions while working as a clinical psychologist in Binghamton. He said that in addition to being open about their dark emotions, people should embrace them rather than sitting silently while harboring negative feelings.
He uses a technique called emotional surfing to help people embrace these harmful emotions and lead more productive lives. The process of emotional surfing requires people to “just go with what they, people, are feeling, in a very deliberate and poignant manner.”
“The goal of the healing journey is not to no longer have feelings and experiences such as fear, shame or anxiety,” Duvinsky writes in his book. “It is our endeavors to control or subjugate them that causes a large percentage of our personal and interpersonal distress.”
Duvinsky said he began developing ideas for his book years before writing it.
“It had been rolling around in my head for six years prior to book, slowly fermenting in my brain,” Duvinsky said. “However, it was only the last year and half that I started committing my thoughts to paper.”
When told about Duvinsky’s approach, students were receptive to his ideas and even volunteered their own ideas.
Gabrielle Schiller, a freshman double-majoring in human development and psychology, responded to the idea of procrastination being rooted in deeper anxieties.
“I totally agree with that,” Schiller said. “I also believe that when people complain about others in a group project, its just about their own deeper reservations.”
Cara Natale, a freshman majoring in integrative neuroscience, seconded Schiller’s opinion.
”I guess that makes a lot of sense for overachievers,” Natale said. “When I have a big project, I really want to do it right.”