top of page

Learn how to create and deliver systematic desensitization protocols for your clients with Anxiety and Avoidance-Based Disorders (such as social anxiety, phobia, eating disorders, OCD, and PTSD).

Exposure therapy can be an effective therapeutic tool for helping clients overcome fears and challenges. Systematic desensitization therapy is a systematic approach to exposure therapy that can help clients reach specific goals.


Effective approaches to systematic desensitization therapy involve:

  • A strong therapeutic alliance and sense of trust

  • The ability of the therapist to help inspire motivation and values-based action in their clients

  • The ability to deliver basic psychoeducation around the avoidance-anxiety cycle

  • The ability to help clients use basic CBT strategies throughout their journey

  • The ability to help clients use  nervous system downregulation and relaxation strategies

  • An ability to grade and fade challenges flexibly

  • Knowledge of how to bring the approach out of the clinic and into the real world



  • What is exposure therapy

  • What is systematic desensitization therapy

  • Psychoeducation strategies around the avoidance-anxiety cycle and why exposure is important

  • Engagement strategies for clients, connecting to client values

  • Basic Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches to managing destructive thinking

  • Basic nervous system downregulation strategies for managing anxiety

  • Grading challenges and fading support to make your protocol more client-centred and nuanced

  • Creating a custom, client-centred systematic desensitization protocol


Participants will be able to:

  • Explain what exposure therapy and systematic desensitization therapy are, for which client base they can be used, and why they can be effective

  • Deliver basic psychoeducation around the avoidance-anxiety cycle

  • Use strategies to help clients connect to their values and engage in therapy

  • Help clients with basic cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) strategies for managing destructive thinking

  • Help clients use basic nervous system downregulation and relaxation strategies for managing anxiety

  • Learn about how to use elements of fading and grading in a systematic desensitization protocol

  • Create a systematic desensitization protocol for an avoidance and anxiety-based client issue, such as eating disorders, PTSD, OCD, or phobia

  • Learn how to deliver effective systematic desensitization therapy for clients

Systematic Desensitization Therapy for Anxiety and Avoidance-based Disorders

    Brain New copy.png
    bottom of page