Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Systematic Desensitization

Phobias have always been something that interests me. It is fascinating to me how someone can be deathly afraid of something and a different individual may not be phased by the situation at all. If phobias are severe enough, it may be necessary to overcome that fear. This can be done through systemic desensitization. This method attempts to pair relaxation with the phobia (Powell, Honey, Symbaluk, p. 203). This desensitization should be done in steps. For example, in the YouTube video I attached the man in the video is attempting to overcome his fear of elevators. In order for him not to become too overwhelmed, he only rides the elevator for 25 seconds. The next time he rides he may try to increase that time to 50 seconds. Depending on the individual’s anxiety level, it may be best to first expose them to a fake desensitization and slowly work up to the real stimulus (Powell et al., p. 204). When dealing with phobias it is important to take the patient’s anxieties seriously and to move at a pace that is comfortable for the patient.


Powell, R., Honey, P., Symbaluk, D. (2013). Introduction to learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

1 comment:

  1. I think everyone has at least one phobia whether it be chronic or not, and its nice to know that we could possibly overcome these phobias if needed. I am also extremely interested at the fact that some people may find things such as mustard disturbing it makes me wonder how everyones individual brains might work and what causes the development of certain phobias. Great post !