exposure therapy(redirected from Exposure hierarchy)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
A type of behavioural intervention for managing phobic disorders, in which the therapist has a client focus on his or her worst fear or aversion, while encouraging him or her to relax. The repeated cycling of tension and relaxation is meant to desensitise the client to the stressful stimulus, and can also be used for anticipatory side effects (e.g., nausea associated with chemotherapy). A common format of systematic desensitisation consists of muscle relaxation coupled with visualising each of a hierarchy of anxiety-provoking stimuli, ranging from the least to most unpleasant.
exposure therapySystematic desensitization, see there.
A form of cognitive behavioral therapy for treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, in which the patient identifies the emotional, cognitive, and physiological responses to a fearful event in an attempt to gain psychological control over them. The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of the patient to his or her memories of a fearful event; to help a victim cope with the anxiety, fear, guilt, or humiliation that the original exposure produced; and to prevent those feelings from being triggered in the patient by new exposures that revive painful memories.