Darcy, when I first began knitting a little over a year ago, I was terrified of dpn's.
I spent hours searching for patterns that could be knit on only two needles.
Finally, I decided it wouldn't hurt to just practice. I had some cheap acrylic yarn on hand, and followed Silver's Sock Tutorial
and attempted to make my first pair of socks. They didn't look fantastic when I finished, but hey, they were my first pair, and I had just succeeded in knitting in the round on double pointed needles!
I think it removed the pressure to succeed (which also removed the fear) by using a cheap ball of yarn, and knowing up front that these wouldn't be a gift for anyone. I just thought of them as a swatch. I was truly amazed at how quickly I picked up the technique of knitting with dpn's, and I am not a fast learner. Being very much a visual learner, I was certain there was no way I'd ever learn to knit on dpn's without someone physically showing me, but Silver's tutorial really simplified it. Trust me, if I can learn it without an "in-person mentor", anyone can!