Psychological Therapies: Systematic De-Sensitisation

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  • The process of gradually introducing an individual to an object or event that they feel anxious towards.
  • Experiencing anxiety about something means someone will avoid them, as they are usually confronted with it all at once. It is therefore good to introduce gradually and over a long period of time. 
  • Relaxing the patient at each step, makes the situation more familiar and less over-whelming. 
  • The aim of SD is to reduce anxiety people associate with feared objects or situations; interfering with them living a normal life. 
  • Feared stimulus not so fearful.
  • counterconditioning (teaching a behaviour that is incompatible with the fear response) ; enables individuals to overcome their anxieties by learning to relax in the presence of stimuli once made them unbearable and


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