What is it?
Systematic desensitization is a specific technique that breaks the link between the anxiety-provoking stimulus and the anxiety response. This treatment requires the patient to gradually confront the object of fear. There are three main elements to the process:
- Relaxation training
- A list composed by the patient that prioritizes anxiety-inducing situations by degree of fear
- The desensitization procedure itself, confronting each item on the list, starting with the least stressful
This treatment is especially effective for simple phobias, social phobias, agoraphobia, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.