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In vivo Desensitization

Description of the Strategy

In vivo desensitization is a widely used, exposure-based strategy for the treatment of anxiety, fears, and phobias. This approach alone is a well-supported treatment of childhood fears and phobias; however, in vivo desensitization is often a component of cognitive-behavioral treatment packages. Other components used in conjunction with in vivo desensitization could include imaginal desensitization, contingency management, cognitive restructuring, and modeling.

In vivo means “in life,” which refers to the presentation of the feared stimuli or situation. Thus, the child or adolescent is directly exposed to the feared object. This is in contrast to imaginal exposure, during which the child is instructed to imagine the feared stimulus in rich detail. Desensitization, also called counterconditioning or deconditioning, is developed from classical ...

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