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Exposure: how to do it


Build a Fear Ladder

Now that you have a long list of situations, places, or things that scare you it’s time to rank them from the least scary to the scariest. You can create different fear ladders with lots of different steps for each of your goals (like talking to a classmate or doing a presentation) or different fear themes (heights, spiders, etc.).

Here’s an example of one of Lin’s fear ladders.


Fear Ladder

Goal: Make a new friend

Situation Fear Rating
Tell a classmate about your weekend 8
Ask a classmate a quick question (for example, "Is the math quiz on Friday?") 6
Make a comment to a classmate (for example, "Have a good weekend.") 5
Say "hi" to classmate in the hall 3


Examples of fear ladders:

  1. Millies Fear Ladder
  2. Robs Fear Ladder
  3. Jacobs Fear Ladder
  4. Amans Fear Ladder
  5. Christines Fear Ladder
  6. Anitas Fear Ladder


EXERCISE: Print a copy of the fear ladder. Start organizing your fear items from the least scary to the scariest based on the rating you gave each item.

Get a blank copy of a fear ladder.

Tip: Include on your fear ladder some things that you can do now with mild anxiety, some things that you can do now with moderate anxiety, and finally some things you find too difficult to do now because of anxiety.