Systematic desensitization is a technique that was developed by Joseph Wolpe, a pioneer of behavioral therapy, to treat anxiety related disorders and phobias. The technique is based on the principles of classical conditioning and the fact that what has been learned can be…
They then use relaxation strategies to compete with anxiety. Once it becomes successful that they can manage their anxiety by imagining fearful events, the technique can then be used in real life situation. The process of this technique normally has one major goal which is to become gradually desensitized to the triggers causing them distress (Alex & Adam, 2013).
Patients need to be taken through a practice of some relaxation techniques before they can begin gradually exposing themselves to their feared situations. Some of such relaxation techniques that the patients need to familiarize themselves with before relaxation training include; deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization.
As a nurse, before beginning systematic desensitization to a patient, you need to have mastered the relaxation training as well as developed a hierarchy (beginning from least feared to most feared) list of the patients’ feared situations. A nurse is responsible for helping patients realize their state of relaxation or identifying their anxiety hierarchy. This technique begins with imaginary exposure to situations of fear. The feared situations need to be broken down into manageable components using the patient’s anxiety hierarchy (Corey, 2009). For instance, if a patient fears getting into large stores, he or she may have their least anxiety while walking into the store and this may intensify as he or she walks far from the exit doors. The highest fear response for the patient may be when he or she stands in the checkout line. In this situation, as a nurse, I would take the patient through this by starting the process from the action that causes the least distress and let them work their way up. This therapy is to result in a situation whereby the patient would gradually, or systematically, become desensitized to shopping in large stores. The patient would definitely learn to do it at last without any fear and ultimately be able to ...
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