Just imagine your worst fear, like fear of enclosed spaces or even spiders and mostly snakes. Like most phobias, it interrupts your normal life, like someone who is claustrophobic. Then it becomes a problem. Getting rid of these fears is not always easy that is why a lot of people resort to certain therapeutic practices like flooding therapy. Flooding therapy or exposure therapy is an extreme but therapeutic practice some persons use to get rid of such fears.


Flooding therapy is a technique in behavioral therapy where individuals are directly exposed to a maximum-intensity anxiety-producing situation. It is usually for described or real experiences without any attempt made to lessen or avoid anxiety or fear during the exposure.

Exposure or flooding therapy as a therapeutic practice aims to diminish or reduce the undesired response to a feared situation. Exposure therapy is mostly for individuals with phobias and similar disorders.


#1. Claustrophobia:

One of the known conditions that are usually treated with exposure therapy is phobias.
Normally, when a person complains to a psychologist about any known phobia like fear of dogs or in this case fear of enclosed spaces. This patient is kept in a small room. Now, the anxiety and adrenaline kick in. It feels like your heart is racing out of your chest at a point, flooding therapy does that.


Although, being stuck in that space is not a problem for everyone if they do not have claustrophobia. However, for a person is totally get rid of this fear, he/she must go through the enduring phase. The “enduring phase” is where the anxiety and adrenaline rush reduce and cope with this fear at that moment.

Flooding therapy usually helps the condition of this individual to be able to think positively or remain calm in similar situations. They might be able to overcome their fears entirely if it is consistent.

Phobias are psychological so getting rid of them would need to mind jobs too. Although, flooding therapy doesn’t just work its magic by the first try. Usually, the best thing for the patient is to remove it from the environment. Trying again at a different time is the best option. Because even if it is a psychological problem, it can cause physiological responses.

#2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

OCD usually originates from previous underlying fears. It becomes a ritualistic practice of obsessively keeping everything in order every single time.

OCD- Flooding Therapy

Then, the patient is placed in a certain environment. The psychotherapist monitors the triggers. Some usually enter a defensive compulsive state/ behavior.

Some things typical of people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder are constantly wanting things neat and in order. Ordinarily, it is not bad unless it begins to affect their lives.

Some situations like exposing them to a contaminated environment where their compulsive triggers kick in. It is consistent to make them understand there are some situations outside their control.

Flooding Therapy- OCD

Some people exposed to this at first causes physiological triggers like an addict suffering from withdrawal. Hands shaking, heart racing, and all that.

#3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

For treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), flooding therapy is usually a good option in reducing any sense of negative stimuli. But here’s the problem;

Flooding Therapy

1. Performing this form of therapy is usually tricky because you can easily place the patient in an environment.

2. Patients can suffer severe anxiety by reliving these experiences.

Most licensed psychotherapists come up with another option though. The imaginal flooding therapy. Imaginal flooding therapy deals with stories. Psychologists analyze the event and know how to tell it. Then, the patient is strictly monitored for responses.

Flooding therapy usually gives a positive response or a negative psychological effect on survivors in terms of mental illness. Further diagnosis can be;

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
  • Anxiety
  • Depression.

Flooding Therapy FAQ’s

Does flooding exposure therapy work?

This psychotherapy practice is known as exposure, and it has been shown to be an effective treatment for people suffering from PTSD, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other anxiety disorders.

What is the difference between flooding and desensitization?

Relaxation training is followed by gradual (typically imagined) exposure to the feared stimuli, beginning with the least dreaded stimulus in systematic desensitization (SD). Flooding, on the other hand, involves quick exposure to the stimuli.

What is cognitive flooding?

A psychotherapy technique used to treat phobias in which the client is urged to focus on unpleasant or aversive mental imagery in order to induce emotional states comparable to those experienced when confronted with a feared object or circumstance.

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