Using Exposure therapy to get rid of Your Fears

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Using Exposure therapy to get rid of Your Fears

exposure therapy is based on two ideas, The first one is that irrational fears grow stronger as long you run away from them While the second is that you can change your beliefs about your fears in such a way that you become more able to face them.

Note that i am assuming here that the fear is irrational and that you are afraid of something that can't harm you (like for example fear of darkness or fear of harmless animals).

In this article i will tell you about the steps of exposure therapy so that you can get rid of your fears.

exposure therapy detailed steps

  • Step one: Face your fears: Go to a place where your irrational ideas trigger your fears. For example, if you are afraid of darkness then go to a dark place and start to gradually advance into that place. Try to advance there as much as you can and if you felt that you are too afraid to go on then You can stop until you calm down a little then continue going forth.
  • Experience your fears: Instead of trying to control your emotions just experience your fears and let them flow normally. Think of the worst that could happen while experiencing your fears
  • Stand your ground: If you can stand till your fears decline then you have done a great job because You started convincing your subconscious mind that there was nothing that should be feared out there.
  • In case you were afraid: In case you were too afraid to try then you can take a close friend with you. This will help you be more calm but if it's fear of darkness then it's preferred that you go alone.
  • Repeat: Keep repeating this process throughout the days until your fears are conquered. Each time you repeat the process you may find your fears taking less time to diminish.

This method was found to be so effective in dealing with all kinds of fears, however, the only problem is that you may refuse to expose yourself to what you fear.

It's worth to mention that there is another method that can be used which does not involve direct exposure to that extent which is called desensitization.

When using desensitization to combat fears you will learn how to deal with the emotions you experience by gradually exposing yourself to the feared situation either in real life or in your mind. You will find a link that explains desensitization below.

Talking about your fears makes them less intense

A study has shown that people who talked about their fears and wrote them down experienced less fear the next time they faced the things they feared.

People who feared dogs felt more comfortable around them when they spent some time writing down why they feared them. In other words, don't hide your emotions and express them whenever you have a chance, this won't only help you vent but it will reduce your fears as well.

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