This is a method used to eliminate fears and phobias. The individual is taught that they cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time.
Relaxation training is provided and then used by the client whenever they encounter stress. Smaller fears are eliminated before greater fears are tackled.
Since one cannot be anxious and assertive at the same time, the person is also taught how to assert themselves. The individual learns how to act assertively in situations which usually produce passivity and timidity in the client.
For instance, a depressive might be trained to overcome learned helplessness
Both relaxation and assertive training are practiced in a therapeutic situation, and then the client is encouraged to employ the learned methods on his/her own, in real life situations.
Role modelling is a particularly important therapeutic tool in this respect (e.g. If a client is having problems with the boss at work; the therapist may pretend to be the boss in a work situation and ask the client to act out the situation in his own role as if he were at work.