The key to overcoming a phobia is desensitization. Using the principles of exposure therapy, you slowly expose yourself to your triggers until the fear response diminishes and your brain learns that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Phobias can range from natural phenomena like heights or storms to social situations like speaking in public or meeting new people. No matter where your fear resides, overcoming it can be a difficult and unpleasant process. Researchers have found that exposure therapy is the most effective way of dealing with phobias. Here is a list of five advantages of exposure therapy to overcome phobias.
1. Reduced Sensitivity to Previously Distressing Situations
Exposure therapy is a laboratory-based therapy that exposes patients to the situations that cause their anxiety. By exposing themselves over time to their triggers, people gradually learn that fear is not an inevitable response and gradually become desensitized and numb to the situation. Imagine being able to walk into a spider-filled room without feeling anxious and looking in the fridge without being afraid of food poisoning. Exposure therapy helps them reduce their sensitivity to what they are terrified about.
2. Reduced Fear and Anxiety
The primary benefit of exposure therapy is that it helps you overcome fear and anxiety. Most people stop experiencing fear reactions altogether. You naturally experience relaxation, calmness, and peace when fear and anxiety are over. It is impossible to describe feeling free from anxiety and fear of things that once terrified you. You will feel liberated and pure and will have a greater ability to tolerate discomfort.
3. Better Control of Your Symptoms
It takes time before the effects of exposure therapy sink in. You will have to work hard at desensitizing yourself to your triggers for several weeks. You can expect to have more control over your reactions and be able to alter and reduce them over time.
4. Easier to Use
Exposure therapy is much easier to use than traditional therapies and provides high returns. This is because you don’t have to make many changes in your life on your own. The therapist does this for you, giving you the freedom to reap therapy’s benefits without worrying about whether or not your efforts are successful.
5. Less Risk
The great thing about exposure therapy is that it reduces risk. The more time you spend in your anxiety-inducing situations, the less likely you will have a bad reaction. You also don’t run the risk of being overwhelmed by the experience and unable to get over it. If a stimulus is too intense, your brain can switch to an anxious response, but as long as you work hard at desensitizing yourself, you will eventually overcome your fears.
Exposure therapy is an effective, safe, and proven way to overcome phobias. It takes time, but once you get used to your triggers, you can expect a deeper level of control over your reactions and become less vulnerable in those situations. Exposure therapy is the way to go when it comes to overcoming phobias.