Flooding Therapy - Treating Phobia

Following up on Madi's post about phobias, it got me looking into ways to treat them. Something we have covered in class is "flooding". 

"Flooding is a simple technique in which the client intentionally imagines a feared situation or entertains an obsessive train of thought. The person holds this situation or thought in mind for a long time, at high intensity and without avoiding or neutralizing the images, until they finally grow bored and the images lose their power to upset" (Cognitive Behavior Management)"

Exposure to the phobia, whatever it may be, over and over again, will eventually cause a desired outcome, and in this case, is the brain growing tired of the occurrence, and not triggering the same fearful response anymore. Take my phobia for example, open water. A strange fear for someone who surfs and loves swimming, but if I lose my board or am far out in the ocean, I panic. I have never thought too much of this, as I have only ever had a handful of instances of panic as I don't go far out enough (usually) to experience this, but when it does happen, it becomes difficult to process what i need to do in order to move back into my comfort zone (closer to shore). This doesn't even have to be a phobia, I just need to expose myself to the uncomfortable situation enough to become used to it. 

Here's an interesting article on flooding technique and how it can be used in therapy. 



  1. I agree that flooding therapy would be a useful treatment option for treating phobias. I too have a phobia of open water, especially the ocean. I do not surf and have been interested in surfing, but my fear of sharks or anything that could potentially harm me in the water stops me from surfing. I have a phobia of heights and have been trying my best to overcome this fear. I recently went to Universal Studios and I told myself that I would go on rollercoasters to try to overcome my phobia of heights. I did go on some rollercoasters, but it has taken me several years to get to this point and I hope to one day go skydiving to really overcome this fear.


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