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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    Sage, yet another question...sorry. What is the difference between systematic desensitization and exposure therapy, and which one do you recommend for emetophobia? I've been doing videos as exposure therapy, watching the scene three times per week. But in looking at your hierarchy, it sounds like you looked at the specific image or item not just once, but until the anxiety went away. Could you fill me in as to which one is more effective?

    Also, what should I be thinking about during exposure therapy? Should I be just concentrating on the scene, or doing affirmations, or imagining that it is me (this causes my anxiety to sky rocket?)Edited by: kel12347
    Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom. - Marilyn Ferguson

    Habituation always defeats fear. - Edmund Bourne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Vancouver, BC, Canada


    Hi Kel,

    They're the same thing - just two different names.

    And yes, look at the picture until you are absolutely bored with it BEFORE moving on to a more difficult one. That's the idea. You're re-wiring synaptic connections in your brain, remember. You're not engaged in a weight-lifting competition where the goal is just to suck it up and accomplish it. So OVER AND OVER AND OVER is the idea, until your brain is hard-wired NOT to be afraid when you see the picture.

    If the picture's easy enough, you should be able to actually look at it. I would NOT recommend imagining it's you at this stage. This is why emetophobes fear others vomiting - because their brains click over as though it's them (same reason people faint when they see other people losing blood). It's an identification with the victim, of sorts.

    Once you can view every picture and video with no anxiety (this took me 6 months) then you can go back to the beginning and imagine it's you. But only enough to raise your anxiety to a 5/10. Any higher, and you risk it skyrocketing, which will retraumatize you, rather than help.

    Good luck!
    For more info about emetophobia and treatment:

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    DISCLAIMER ~ Any advice I give on this forum is well-intentioned and given as to a peer or friend or for educational purposes. It does not in any way constitute psychotherapeutic or medical advice. Please discuss anything you may learn from my posts with your doctor and psychotherapist prior to making any decisions or changes or taking any actions.

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