Systematic desensitisation works by using counter-conditioning so that the person learns to associate the phobic stimulus with relaxation rather than fear. First, the phobic person makes a 'fear hierarchy' This is a list of feared events, showing what they fear least through to their most feared event. They are then taught relaxation techniques like deep breathing. The patient then imagines the anxiety-provoking situation, starting with the least stressful. They're encouraged to use the relaxation techniques, and the process stops if they feel anxious. Relaxation and anxiety can't happen at the same time, so when they become relaxed and calm, they're no longer scared. This is repeated until the feared event is only linked with relaxation. This whole process is repeated for each stage of the fear hierarchy until they are calm through their most feared event.