Psychological Treatment Exposure Therapies Systematic desensitization is a type of exposure therapy. Exposure therapies are commonly used to treat phobias. These therapies recognize the fact that people maintain phobias by avoiding anxiety-producing situations, and they involve eliminating anxiety responses by having clients face a real or imagined version of the feared stimulus. In recent years, therapists have started using virtual reality devices to help clients experience feared stimuli. Flooding is a more extreme type of exposure therapy than systematic desensitization. In flooding, exposure to anxiety-producing stimuli is sudden rather than gradual. For example, the person with the fear of heights would be taken to a mountain trail. No avalanche happens, so the person’s anxiety is extinguished. Systematic desensitization involves a series of steps, which occur over several therapy sessions: 1. The therapist and client make up an anxiety hierarchy. The hierarchy lists stimuli that the
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.