Definitions for "Systematic desensitization"
a form of counterconditioning that trains the client to maintain a state of relaxation in the presence of imagined anxiety-inducing stimuli. (524)
A major behaviour therapy procedure that has a fearful person, while deeply relaxed, imagine a series of progressively more fearsome situations. The two responses of relaxation and fear are incompatible and fear is dispelled. This technique is useful for treating psychological problems in which anxiety is the principal difficulty.
A therapy designed to gradually reduce fear about a particular stimulus by substituting a relaxed response for the fear response.