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What is exposure therapy and how is it used to treat situational phobias?

Todd Farchione, PhD
Psychology
Exposure therapy is gradually confronting something you are afraid of, which can be very effective for overcoming fears and phobias. In this video, psychologist Todd Farchione, PhD, discusses some of the misconceptions of this behavioral treatment.

Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) often used in the treatment of situational phobias. Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing a person to the feared situation in a safe, secure environment. For example, an individual may first be told to imagine the feared situation, then be shown pictures of the feared situation, then take steps toward participating in the situation, and then finally actually participate in the situation. The process of gradually exposing the person to the feared situation helps to desensitize the person to the situation and thus reduce the fear associated with it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.