Exposure Therapy is a general term for any form of behavior-modification therapy involving simulated, imagined, or real-world exposure to triggering memories, objects, or situations. The patient is first introduced to various relaxation techniques, then guided through in vitro (simulated) or in vivo (real-world) exposures, often in small, manageable stages, to gradually desensitize the patient to triggering situations. Exposure can be graded (gradually working from minor fears to more major ones) or “flooding”, in which the most strongly feared stimuli are addressed from the beginning of treatment. Exposure therapy is a highly popular and effective technique for the treatment of anxiety and phobias. It is often used in tandem with other therapies.
Further Reading on Exposure Therapy:
The Psychiatric Times:
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders: