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  • A technique often used in behavior therapy to treat the fear and anxiety associated with phobias. An individual is conditioned to display a behavior that is in opposition to the undesirable behavior by gradually being exposed to the anxiety-provoking stimulus. Initial exposure to the stimulus is at such a low intensity that the undesirable behavior is not displayed. Patients are taught coping mechanisms, such as relaxation techniques, which would run counter to their fear-induced behaviors. Gradually, exposure to the stimulus is increased such that the individual no longer experiences fear or anxiety.

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