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Desensitise yourself [Good information]

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Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby Butterfly Faerie » Wed May 17, 2006 4:10 pm

Desensitise yourself
Developed by Wolpe in the 40's, 'systematic desensitisation' is a very effective, tried and tested method of becoming less sensitive to the stimulus, or subject, of your phobia.

Although normally applied by a therapist, you can use this as a self help method. It is a rather slow process so you will need patience and the determination to stick with it for weeks or even months.


Use desensitisation only on mild phobias
Mild or severe phobia?

Self help using desensitisation is not suitable for severe phobias because the emotions are likely to be too powerful for self help methods. A severe phobia is best resolved with professional assistance.

It is likely that you will know instinctively whether your's is a phobia that will respond to this self help approach. However as a rough guide check where your phobic reaction lies on an intensity scale of 1-10.

Imagine that 10 is the highest intensity - virtually being overwhelmed at the thought of the stimulus - and 1 is a mild 'ho-hum' uneasiness.

If your response to even thinking about the subject evokes an intensity of 8 or higher you would be well advised to seek professional help rather than attempting to do it by yourself. Below 8 indicates that self help methods are likely to work - with a systematic and persistent approach.


'Complex Phobias'
You can use desensitisation on 'complex phobias', such as fear of flying, and on 'social phobias'. However do prepare thoroughly as this will make the difference between success and disappointment.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby eduardo » Sun May 22, 2011 6:18 pm

what good & relevant information can you recommend about
desensitisation ?
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby Fuffuster » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:56 am

eduardo wrote:what good & relevant information can you recommend about
desensitisation ?


If you want to look up information on desensitization, you may want to look into a process called "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" (or CBT). This is the process by which people with phobias are systematically desensitized to whatever they fear. They use this very often with people who have phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety disorders.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby Entangled » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:19 pm

Desensition means learning how to see something from another perspective.

Let's say you are afraid of snakes. My Mom is still afraid of them. If she opens the front door and see's a gradener snake basking itself on the stoop. My mom would be so scared, she would stand still until that poor lizard decided to mozy along and disappear in the brush.

Desensition.

This is an aexample but just in my mind.

1. Therapist show you lizard pictures...all types but no snakes.
2. Snake pictures
3. Lizards moving around in a tank
4. Snakes in a tank.
5. Snakes on the floor.

That's it. They start with something small...like #1, and gradually with patience go to number five.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby Alana675 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:04 pm

Hello, my name is Alana...Please advise how or if I could use desensitization in this situation.......

I have this irrational fear of going to the doctor, started years ago when I had serious anxiety problems. My blood pressure was high because I was anxious. I have this fear of them finding something wrong with me. I am the opposite of someone who wants to get every test done in the book, I don't want to go to the doctors at all. I hate pills, and hate tests. Now I associate my doctors office with fear and can't even go for a regular check up. The minute they take a BP, BAM, its high. I get dizzy and shaky right away and no matter how long they wait it is still high. At home it is always low and I check it several times a week (I am a nurse by the way). I don't know what to do. I am 49 and cannot constantly avoid the doctors. I need to battle this fear once and for all.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby inGoditrust » Tue May 29, 2012 6:36 pm

Hi Alana,

I know your post is from 2011, but I wanted to chime in and let you know that you are not alone. I too have high BP when at the doctors, but at other times it is normal or close to. I used to get anxious over this and didn't want to go to the doctors for fear that my blood pressure would be high and they would find something wrong with me. It was a vicious cycle, but then I read about "white coat syndrome."

White coat syndrome is a condition wherein the individual demonstrates elevated blood pressure in a clinical setting, and not in other settings. This phenomenon occurs due to anxiety and apprehension some people feel during a visit to the clinic.

This knowledge has helped me immensely and sometimes now I am so relaxed during a doctor visit that I have "normal" BP readings.

Hope this helps you like it helped me :)
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby MissDiagnosed » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:20 pm

This is great! Exactly how I got over my phobia driving on highways. Seriously taking baby steps is the best way to get over something. I would start with just feeling relaxed driving on side roads, then I would take VERY short highway trips, then a little longer, etc etc.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby anti_matter_boy » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:14 am

Desensitisation is basically controlled exposure therapy, whereby someone is exposed to mild forms of the object of phobia and allowed to accustom themselves to its presence, then the severity of the form of exposure is increased a little and the process repeated.

I think this allows the person to see that nothing bad happens (ie what they fear) as a result of the exposure and it is deliberately mild to ensure the person can use their brain to rationalise against an immediate avoidant response.

This technique seems to work best when exposure can be rigidly controlled (ie no surprises) and the patient is in control with someone providing encouragement and enhancing cognitive reasoning.

The reason why it is so difficult to address phobias is because the primitive brain is quite powerful to react instinctively to danger to protect the organism and thus overrides the cognitive process to a certain extent. By starting with a mild form of the phobic object, the patient can better cognitively reason against the instinctive response, but it is still not easy.

I have deeply entrenched phobias that aren't amenable to desensitisation in a controlled environment because they are not really subject to control. Despite this, the medical profession refused to acknowledge the impracticality and suggested desensitisation. Of course it didn't work but increased the phobia. It took many years before a psychologist stumbled on some of the causal factors and I was better able to treat myself.

Part of the treatment issue is often the rush to diagnose to a known condition, even if it doesn't fit right (the shoehorning approach), through expediency and not spending enough time to really understand what is going on.

I think Desensitisation works best for irrational object orientated phobias, but is less amenable to phobias resulting from repeated bad experiences that may continue to recur.

I have a fear of needles resulting from a particularly bad experience when a nurse tried to draw blood 13 times for a test and witnessing young colleagues suffering with vaccinations and blood streaming down their arm. It's not helped by pain experienced from any subsequent needle as it reinforces the initial phobic experience. It's the same with going to the dentist or a medical practice: I have entrenched negative experiences that are difficult to ameliorate when they keep getting repeated.

IMO, we are acutely sensitive to negative events and avoid those circumstances in future as a defense mechanism that evolved for our survival. Correspondingly, positive experiences carry less weight. That is one of the reasons why desensitisation is so slow, because it takes many positive experiences to start to outweigh a single negative experience. If we do experience another negative experience, it generates a severe setback and may overwhelm any future desensitisation approach: that is why desensitisation must be rigidly controlled so that a negative reinforcement does not occur to derail the process.

At least, this is how I view the process.
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby JackTheNewOne » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:21 pm

Very interesting.
As being someone with Social anxiety and Generalised anxiety disorder, I feel tremendously bad when watching that videos of pick ups, when a guy approach random girls on streets to get their number or whatever.
I somehow puts myself in the skin of the guy in the video and start to feel all the anxiety.

I also feel anxious when people talk about travels or such, because I'm very affraid of going too far away from my home...
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Re: Desensitise yourself [Good information]

Postby Jamie514 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:38 am

Entangled wrote:Desensition means learning how to see something from another perspective.

Let's say you are afraid of snakes. My Mom is still afraid of them. If she opens the front door and see's a gradener snake basking itself on the stoop. My mom would be so scared, she would stand still until that poor lizard decided to mozy along and disappear in the brush.

Desensition.

This is an aexample but just in my mind.

1. Therapist show you lizard pictures...all types but no snakes.
2. Snake pictures
3. Lizards moving around in a tank
4. Snakes in a tank.
5. Snakes on the floor.

That's it. They start with something small...like #1, and gradually with patience go to number five.


Hey Entangled, I saw your thought. Really good and clear concept about Desensition. Thanks for sharing.
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