Definition reprinted with permission from Hood, Stephen B. (editor) available from Stuttering Foundation of America: Stuttering Words (Publication No 2: Speech Foundation of America)
Desensitization generally takes place at two levels: emotional and behavioral. Emotionally, desensitization therapy attempts to help the client feel increasingly relaxed and comfortable in situations that previously were associated with fear, anxiety and other forms of negative emotion. Behaviorally, desensitization attempts to help the client tolerate periods of physical tension during moments of stuttering accompanied by tension and struggle. To accomplish desensitization, stutterers are often exposed to a hierarchy of increasingly stressful situations where they work to remain calm and relaxed in activities such as voluntary stuttering, pseudo-stuttering or faking.