Flooding Therapy

Flooding Therapy


What is flooding?

Flooding is a type of behavioral therapy that helps people who have phobias or fears. When there is flooding, the apprehensive person is repeatedly exposed to the terrifying object. The theory behind it is that by confronting your worries, you will eventually come to see them as less frightening. A therapist might, for instance, take someone who is fearful of animals into a cottage to expose the others to a lot of dogs in a safe environment.

What is Flooding Therapy?

Flooding therapy subjects the client to their phobia for a 2 to a 3-hour session, in all its wonderfulness. One of the really extreme forms of exposure therapy is this one. Flooding therapy provides a different option. The patient is now exposed to stimuli, allowing for the formation of new associations. The patient's mind will gradually begin to replace the old relationships with new ones over an extended period of time. The patient no longer connects their previous fear with unpleasant memories or unsettling feelings when they are faced with it the following time.

Flooding could be compared to a total extinction program. Here, the procedure entails prolonged exposure to vibrant characterizations of the stimulations that elicit fear or to the actual fear-producing stimuli in situations where this stimulation cannot be avoided, as opposed to the gradual exposure combined with relaxation that defines systematic desensitization. Flooding is based on a theory of total destruction and, whenever feasible, involves in real life the feared stimuli. The technique, like systematic desensitization, changes depending on the therapist first learning precisely what the client fears the most. Flooding has been shown to be particularly effective in getting rid of OCD rituals. Obsessive-compulsive rituals typically have to revolve around groundwater pollution and checking.

                                                             OCD cycle

Obsession -> Anxiety -> Compulsions -> Relief->

Once the patient is afraid of contamination, flooding entails getting them to "contaminate" themselves by getting their hands on dirt or whatever it is they are trying to avoid, and it prevents them from engaging in their anxiety-relieving rituals. As a result, they will come to understand that the threat they perceive is unfounded.

Treatment of Mental Disorders by Flooding Therapy by Therapists and Psychologists

Flooding therapy is useful for those without phobias as well. Several disorders, such as the following, can be managed or treated by a professional using flood therapy:


How is flooding therapy carried out?

Flooding therapy is utilized in combination with progressive muscle relaxation, techniques, or imagery to treat any type of phobia. These coping mechanisms cause a person to re-traumatize due to the same event or fear. Furthermore, it is crucial that getting flooded exposure therapy is carried out by an experienced and trained therapist who is familiar with effective phobia as well as fear coping mechanisms. Flooding enables people to become accustomed to their anxieties and let the powerful emotion that surrounds them fade. An individual's fear of flooding is presented to them all at once, with the utmost intensity, rather than in small or medium doses. Up until the point of habituation, that person feels all of their fears to the fullest extent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Flooding therapy

Flooding has the advantage of being quicker than some other forms of exposure therapy. Both OCD and anxiety disorders have been treated with it. It can occasionally be beneficial for those who have PTSD.

Flooding is at a disadvantage; patients receiving flood therapy for PTSD may occasionally experience a relapse. Patients may experience more severe depression. Flooding might not be as effective for PTSD as it is for problems with general anxiety.

Flooding has been shown to be a more effective treatment for some social phobias, such as those where the patient is afraid of reptiles, but in other instances, systematic desensitization was more effective in treating the same phobia. Systematic desensitization is believed to be more effective than flooding because patients are more likely to stick with the therapies but flooding may be too intense for some patients.

Using the flood therapy technique, a person who suffers from anxiety or PTSD is exposed to the strongest possible level of a stimulus while receiving assistance in overcoming their behavioral reaction to it. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses a method called flooding.  By dividing up large problems into smaller ones, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on helping you deal with them with a better attitude. The foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the idea that one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and actions have been interconnected and that having unfavorable thoughts and emotions can keep you stuck in unfavorable patterns. If Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is suggested, you will typically meet with a therapist once a week or every two weeks. The average number of sessions required for treatment is six to twenty, with each session lasting between forty-five and sixty minutes.

If you would like to learn more about Compassionate Focused Therapy and live mindfully, seeking consultation for emotional challenges with the Best Clinical Psychologists or Best Psychiatrists will help you to understand your emotions, thoughts,  and behaviors and enable you to understand better your emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, and healthy behavioral skills. You can also meet in the clinic with the best clinical psychologists & parenting coaches at Psychowellness Center, a multi-location clinic at Janakpuri, Dwarka, VasantVihar, Gurgaon, NOIDA, Faridabad, and Delhi NCR.

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Contributed By:- Dr (Prof) R K Suri Clinical Psychologist & Life Coach & Ms. Swati Yadav, Psychologist