flooding n. a technique in behavior therapy in which the individual is exposed directly to a maximum-intensity anxiety-producing situation or stimulus, either described or real, without any attempt made to lessen or avoid anxiety or fear during the exposure. An individual with claustrophobia, for example, might be asked to spend extended periods of time in a small room. Flooding techniques aim to diminish or extinguish the undesired response to a feared situation or stimulus and are used primarily in the treatment of individuals with phobias and similar disorders. It is distinct from systematic desensitization, which involves a gradual, step-by-step approach to encountering the feared situation or stimulus while attempting throughout to maintain a nonanxious state. See also implosive therapy.