Relaxation is one of the processes involved in systematic desensitization. The client and therapist work together to develop a fear hierarchy and then the client is taught relaxation techniques, such as breathing techniques. The final component of systematic desensitisation involves exposing the patient to their phobic situation (starting at the bottom of the hierarchy and moving up) while remaining relaxed. The idea is that the relaxation should overtake the fear (reciprocal inhibition).

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