The immediate exposure technique is perhaps the most brutal and anxiety producing way of overcoming a fear. As the name suggests, this technique involves exposing yourself to the thing you fear immediately and at a high intensity.
For an external fear, such as a fear of spiders, this would involve holding a spider in your hand or letting it crawl all over your body. For an internal fear, such as a fear of asking someone out on a date, this would involve going up to as many women/men as possible with the aim of meeting them again at some point in the future.
As you can imagine, this technique tends to cause lots of immediate anxiety and panic as you are confronting a fear head on. The natural reaction to the emotions that you experience are to get away as soon as possible.
The main advantage of this technique is that it&#'217;s generally the quickest way to overcome a fear. This is why it is often recommended that if you suffer from a fear of rejection, that you become a door-to-door salesperson for a while.
The amount of rejections that you receive in a short space of time will desensitize you to being rejected, thereby lessening the emotional effect that a rejection has on you.
The disadvantage of this technique, is that unless you are strongly motivated to overcome a particular fear, you are unlikely to have the will-power to push yourself forward into an uncomfortable situation. As a result, in order for this technique to be effective, one must be willing and prepared to experience failure and discomfort.
When using the immediate exposure technique, it will usually take about 5-10 exposures to the thing you fear for your fear to be reduced or eliminated.
It should be noted however, that a very bad or traumatic experience during any one of these exposures, could make your fear worse and prevent you from taking further action to overcome your fear.
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