There are many ways that you may choose to reduce stress and anxiety, but if you are also feeling fear on top of anxiety or stress, this is something that you should seek help for. There are ways that a professional might be able to offer assistance, so you are able to work past fears that may be affecting your life and what you are able to get accomplished. Take a look at this article for information on systematic desensitization therapy and how it can address your phobias and fears. 

What Is A Phobia?

A phobia is often a severe fear of something, that impedes with everyday life. It can be fear of a situation, a thing, or a type of animal. Essentially, someone can have a phobia associated with anything from closed spaces to worms. In many cases, a phobia is thought to be an irrational fear, which is another reason why therapy may be the solution for getting over this type of fear. This can be especially important if your phobia is hindering your routine.

What Is Systematic Desensitization?

This type of therapy offers help getting over your phobias. It was developed by Joseph Wolpe in the 1950s and is designed to provide relief from fears by teaching you how to relax. The principle is that when you can relax, you cannot also be fearful. The process consists of a patient working their way through a list of things they are fearful of, each of which is more stressful than the one before. A person is exposed to things they are afraid of, and is shown how to relax, in order to relieve the anxiety and fear that would normally overcome them. As they work through this successfully, they will likely be able to see that they are not as fearful of certain things.

The Process

There is an article that explains the whole process at this link: The process itself is straightforward. A person that experiences a phobia is asked about what they are fearful of. Then they are presented with advice on how to relax and work their way through situations where they are fearful. Next, they are asked to make a list, or perhaps make a list in conjunction with their therapist involving the issue that they are concerned about. The first items may simply include thinking about an object or situation but items further on the list will include being exposed to these things. When a person is slowly exposed to the thing that they fear and are able to relax instead of being afraid, they have a better chance of ridding themselves of their phobia. They may be able to work through all the items on their list if they choose to keep up with their treatment plan.

When Is It Serious?

Many people have fearful moments throughout their life. Experiencing fear is not a cause for concern by itself. However, if you are fearful of something and you go out of your way to avoid it, you may want to think about seeking treatment for it. Moreover, if you are interrupting your schedule, your routine, of if your phobia is changing the way you interact with family and friends, you might want to talk to someone about it. There are many reasons why a person can develop a phobia, and they are unlikely to go away overnight. This is where a professional therapist may be of assistance.


Having a phobia may be difficult and cause you to be fearful in situations where you don’t really want to be. However, you can reach out for mental health support to move past this. Systematic desensitization is designed to not only gradually expose you to your fear, so you are able to work through it, but also provide you with guidance on relaxing and working through stress. Besides working for phobias, this type of therapy can be used for anxiety as well. Talk to your therapist if you feel like you could benefit from this type of therapy. If you do not have a therapist, think about finding one in your area. Keep in mind that there are also online therapy sites and apps that you may want to check out as well.


Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Author: Marie Miguel

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