Systematic de-sensitisation

  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 30-04-15 13:12

Systematic de-sensitisation


  • Can be used as a treatment for anxiety-related disorder
  • Quick and requires less effort from the patient
  • Successful outcomes can be achieved quickly
  • Behavioural therapies are sometimes the only appropriate treatments for certain groups, e.g. people with learning difficulties
  • McGrath et al - 75% of patients with phobias found it effective


  • Simply suppressing symptoms may result in other symptoms appearing
  • Ohman et al - this may not be effective in treating anxieties that have an underlying evolutionary survival component (e.g. fear of dangerous animals)
  • These 'ancient fears' helped our ancestors to survive, and therefore harder to shift.


This method is an effective way of dealing with most phobias and anxieties, and has a high success rate. However, it is less effective for some phobias that used to be associated with survival. Stress Inoculation Therapy is an alternative for treating phobias.


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