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Flooding is a term that often evokes negative interpretations, suggesting a therapeutic technique in which the patient is literally “flooded” with fear. Yet this form of therapy is highly effective and provides quick relief from pathological anxiety. Flooding is a form of exposure therapy, which starts with the most distressing, feared situation as opposed to typical exposure therapy in which the most feared situation is initially approached, gradually moving up a hierarchy. One of the easiest ways to conceptualize the difference is to consider an example of jumping off a high diving board. If the goal is to eventually jump off the high diving board, jumping off a lower diving board will initially be easier but will take longer, and eventually the higher diving ...

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