The systematic desensitization technique has been developed to gradually learn to cope with distressing, stressful and threatening objects and situations.
It can be practiced after having mastered a relaxation technique, as they are a good complement in these cases..
Scenes that are generating anxiety are displayed, from lower to higher level. While it is being done, we must visualize them as something positive, until we achieve that it does not cause us anguish. This is especially helpful in fighting anticipatory and social anxiety. Also for various fears such as loneliness, rejection and shyness.
Mastering systematic desensitization is done in four learning stages:
If you have multiple distressing problems, pick just one to start with. To achieve your goal. Only in the event that several very anxious situations have to do with the same basic problem, will you be able to group them together.
Example list anxiety scenes with airplanes
After making your list of the 20 chosen situations in order of anxiety, sit in a place where you can relax completely and have no interruptions. Try to relax as best you can by breathing deeply or using one of the relaxation techniques that we have.
Close your eyes, without pressing your eyelids, breathe normally and view your television screen, imagine that in your hand you have control of the remote control, with all its buttons at your disposal. Think that you can use it mentally.
Project an image on the screen that is very pleasant, it is better if you see yourself on it too. Do not stop maintaining your state of relaxation and pleasure.
Now zap and project or visualize on the screen the first anxious scene that you have pointed out from your list. If you feel that you are distressed, take it out with your remote and visualize a pleasant scene on your television.
When you are relaxed again and your breathing has returned to normal, try to visualize that first scene again. Repeat the procedure as many times as necessary, until you can project it and verify that visualizing it does not cause you any anxiety.
Stay relaxed, move back to the pleasant scene, and when you're ready, play the second anxious scene. Keep the relaxation and if you feel that you are distressed, repeat the previous step, return to your pleasant scene as many times as necessary.
Do not propose to advance all situations in one day or two, do only those that you can do without getting tired. It does not matter how long it takes, as long as you move forward and in the end you are able to see your 20 scenes without anguish and without losing your state of relaxation.
Every time you go to start the process, project at the beginning the scenes that you have already mastered in the previous sessions and continue the procedure. Always maintain the state of relaxation that you have already achieved. There will come a time when you can visualize your 20 scenes without feeling anguish. And whenever tension or anxiety appears, remember to return to your calming scene. Only when you have achieved your goal, can you start another topic, if there is one.