How to desensitise yourself to your fears

After completing your hierarchy you systematically ‘desensitise’ yourself to thoughts and images on your fourth list.

The steps

  1. Select your fearful thought for the session – pick the item on your fourth list that has the lowest intensity.
  2. Relax deeply – using your relaxation tape and/or the skills you have been practising.
  3. Now begin thinking of the selected thought. This will cause you to tense up somewhat.
  4. Begin immediately to regain your deeply relaxed state while thinking of the thought.
  5. As you do allow your relaxation to deepen.
  6. When you can think about this anxiety stimulus without any discomfort go on to the next highest on your hierarchy. Then do the same with with this fear and then continue up the hierarchy in the same way.

Never desensitise yourself to more than one item per day. Make haste slowly. You have probably had the fears for some years so spending a few weeks systematically and thoroughly dissolving them is a good investment of your time.

Please remember self-help desensitisation is not suitable for severe phobias.