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What is Exposure?


Updated December 04, 2013

Definition: A technique used in cognitive-behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) for reducing fear and anxiety associated with situational triggers. The basic idea behind exposure is that the person becomes used to the situation to the point that it no longer provokes anxiety.

There are two broad types of exposure that differ in terms of intensity and how fast triggers are introduced. Intensive exposure, also known as flooding, typically involves rapid exposure to feared situations. Systematic desensitization involves gradual exposure coupled with relaxation exercises when anxiety levels become too great.

Also Known As: Exposure therapy

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