Exposure therapy is a technique that is often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias.
In PTSD, exposure therapy is intended to help the patient face and gain control of the fear and distress that was overwhelming in the trauma they experienced. It must be done very carefully in order not to re-traumatize the patient. A therapist works with the client to determine if this method is best suited for the particular client and their trauma.
In phobias, exposure therapy is used in conjunction with relaxation exercises and/or imagery. In conjunction with learning how to bring about a relaxed state at-will, the therapy technique gradually exposes patients to what frightens them and helps them cope with their fears.