Exposure therapy is a classical conditioning–based behavior therapy widely used as the treatment of choice for several behavioral disorders, such as anxiety disorders and addictions, among others. With exposure therapy, patients are repeatedly confronted with situations and objects that would normally elicit maladaptive responses, and as a result, these situations and objects gradually stop provoking these responses. For instance, pathological fears and phobias are gradually reduced when patients are repetitively confronted with the situations and objects they are afraid of. In this example, exposure therapy most likely works because patients learn during exposure to the feared situations and objects that they no longer are associated with danger, and consequently, the patients stop being afraid of them.

Historical Context

Exposure therapy is one of the many psychotherapeutic approaches ...

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