Desensitization involves establishing a new more desirable conditioned response to a trigger. In other words, changing the old trigger to a new one. As you can see, it does not mean that the survivor no longer responds to the trigger. What it does mean is that they respond in a different and hopefully more positive and productive way of their own choosing. I caution survivors to take an active role in determining what that new response should be. Only you can determine if it is actually more positive and productive internally.
Desensitization typically takes the form of subjecting the survivor to a known trigger in a controlled, supportive environment in longer and longer periods of time until they are able to respond with the new, pre-established response. Then they are exposed to the trigger under less controlled circumstances with the survivor’s normal environment while still accompanied by a support person until they are able to respond with the new response. The final step is to have the survivor experience the trigger under normal circumstances with a normal environmental setting until they can respond with the new response. The final step is to have the survivor experience the trigger under normal circumstances within a normal circumstances within a normal setting until they are able to respond with the new response. When they are capable of doing the final step, they should be able to encounter the trigger in any situation and use the new response that has been made instinctual by the above outlined process. This is the technique of many phobia experts. It can be a rather long and drawn out process depending upon the determination of the survivor to change the trigger response and how ingrained or habitual the old trigger has become.
There are no true shortcuts for successful desensitization. Many therapists and survivors skip steps here and there or stop after the first time the new response is used.
Other trigger responses, usually programmed, that could require initial desensitization are self-mutilative acts, suicidal acts, homicidal acts, reporting a person to a cult programmer or perpetrator, sexual acts, eating habits and so forth”.