Psychologist Joshua Shuman Discusses Systematic Desensitization Techniques

Joshua Shuman Psychologist

As a psychologist, Joshua Shuman often uses systematic desensitization techniques when offering treatment to patients who are struggling from trauma. Today, Joshua Shuman will explain what systematic desensitization is and why it’s a powerful tool in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Joshua Shuman explains that systematic desensitization is a form of exposure therapy that aims to reduce anxiety and stress by gradually exposing a person to the issue that is the cause of their discomfort. Joshua Shuman notes that a psychologist is most likely to use this tactic with military veterans, but it is used to help anyone with PTSD and similar issues. The logic behind systematic desensitization is that when people face their fears, the stress may increase in the short-term but as a person grows accustomed to those feelings, the reactions start to lessen over time.

Joshua Shuman notes that people naturally tend to avoid the feelings that cause them discomfort. Avoidance is not always the best way to manage stress as it can lead to more severe reactions when exposed to something that triggers those feelings. Through emotional processing, Joshua Shuman explains that people are able to develop realistic expectations and beliefs regarding their anxiety triggers. Having a psychologist there to witness a person’s reaction will often allow a person to react more rationally as well. The more people push away their feelings, the more fear is likely to be reinforced. By showing the brain that the stimuli they are concerned about does not cause them any harm, those feelings begin to lose their power.

Joshua Shuman notes that when he uses systematic desensitization tactics with a patient, they rarely look similar from patient to patient. Each person is unique and needs to be treated in a unique way. The steps, however, are typically rather consistent. The process starts by clearly defining the source of fear. This is sometimes very apparent for a patient, but there’s also a good number of patients who need time to figure out the source of their anxiety. One defined, a psychologist like Joshua Shuman will start to help the patient rate the different situations that trigger fear so that the process of repeat exposure and review can begin.

Every potential patient should know that a good psychologist will spend a lot of time describing what will happen during this cognitive behavioral therapy. The goal is not to trick the person into experiencing a difficult situation. It’s important that the patient is aware of the technique and buying into the process.

What the techniques Joshua Shuman and other psychologists use will look like depends on the patient. For instance, a popular technique is called in vivo desensitization. This is a technique commonly used for people with an irrational fear of bugs or insects. It’s also used with people who are afraid of heights. These patients may be gradually exposed to visits to tall buildings, bridges, and more. Of course, not all sources of fear and anxiety are easy to conjure. Because of this imaginal desensitization is another popular technique. Joshua Shuman will talk to the patient through imagining a situation or setting that would trigger the fear response. Painting a mental picture can help take away the power of fear.

Technology has recently introduced virtual reality desensitization. By utilizing VR headsets and body sensors, sights, sounds, and sensations can be reproduced. This is a great option for people who are dealing with PTSD from combat or even people who have a great fear of flying. Transporting a patient to a whole new location while being able to guarantee their safety is an appealing option.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *