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Hypnosis and Desensitization for Phobias: A Controlled Prospective Trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018


Although systematic desensitization has been used for a decade in the treatment of phobias, its mode of action is not yet fully understood. During treatment by desensitization patients are relaxed while they are asked to visualize situations which evoke progressively more fear. Desensitization is given in the context of routine psychiatric management, and it is obvious that many variables may contribute to the overall effect of treatment. Among those which it is important to examine are: exposure, i.e. visualization of the imagined phobic stimulus without relaxation; relaxation without presentation of phobic images; densensitization, i.e. the pairing of the graded imagined phobic stimuli with relaxation; repeated suggestion of improvement; the relationship to the therapist, and finally the many non-specific effects of routine hospital care.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1968 

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