Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a therapeutic technique that was created to help people face their fears. When you are scared of something, you tend to avoid it. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short-term, over time the fear can grow and worsen. Exposure therapy involves exposing the client to the source of the fear (or its context) in a safe environment without the intention to cause any danger. The exposure to the feared situation, object, or activity helps to reduce fear and decrease avoidance. Exposure therapy can be helpful in the treatment of a number of issues, including PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and panic attacks. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s exposure therapy experts today.

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Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) ERP is the primary treatment technique used and is the gold standard for OCD treatment. In ERP, we will guide you in a step-by-step process of exposing yourself to the thoughts and situations that are triggering your distress- without allowing a compulsion to stop the distress. Without the compulsive behaviors you will habituate to the distress and/or train the brain that the distress can be tolerated.

— North Shore OCD Women's Treatment Center, Ltd. Kathi Fine Abitbol, PhD, Clinical Psychologist in Deerfield, IL

I was lucky enough to be trained in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) in my first year of practice. Whether you are experiencing a new anxiety or an old phobia, we will work together to slowly learn how you can experience freedom from the overwhelming fears that keep you from living the life you want to live.

— Audrey Alberthal, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

Exposure work plays a role in many cases of anxiety. In combination with other cognitive and behavioral tools, it's often important that we learn to little by little, face our fears and develop more confidence in situations that make us anxious.

— Elliott Blitenthal, Psychotherapist in Flushing, NY

Avoidance is the enemy for anxiety! I provide ERP or exposure response prevention to gradually help clients face their fears. This is done in a slow and systematic way knowing that avoiding what makes us anxious only works in the short term. ERP is good for clients with: Social Anxiety Disorder, Phobias (really of any kind), OCD, and even for people with perfectionistic tendencies/ personalities. It is some of my favorite work to do and I have seen amazing results!

— Brooke Zuzow, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in West Chester, OH

I utilize exposure therapies when working with people who are diagnosed with OCD. I have trained with UPENN's Center For the Study and Treatment of Anxiety, who are the leading researchers and practitioners of exposure response prevention- an evidence based and extreme efficacious treatment modality.

— Morgan Flagg, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in South Burlington, VT

Exposure is a technique we use when working with anxiety and with OCD. It means pushing yourself to do things that feel a little bit difficult. Like talking to people. Or not double checking things. Don't worry! We'll make a list of things starting with the very easiest, and we'll make it fun. Sometimes I'll do the exposures with you so you feel supported. The technical term for this which you may have seen on the internet is Exposure Response Prevention or ERP.

— Stephen Grimes, Psychotherapist in New York, NY

In facing our fears, we can learn to actually tolerate once frightening things that governed our lives. Exposure therapy can help you to systematically and hierarchically face what causes you worry, seeing through the process your distress will not only decrease in time without needing to escape or avoid the situation, yet the more you do it the less frightening your fears prove to be.

— Ethan Sapienza, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Beverly Hills, CA

I have been trained in Exposure Response and Prevention for OCD through the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

— Elise Zimmerman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Saint Paul, MN

Rumination-focused Exposure and Response Prevention is a modification of traditional ERP developed by a psychologist who experiences OCD himself. I find it to be both more approachable and more nuanced, and is a great option for both newcomers and ERP veterans.

— Jonathan Benko, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Santa Cruz, CA

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that is often used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP involves gradually exposing patients to situations or stimuli that trigger their obsessions, while helping them resist the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors. Over time, this process can help individuals develop greater control over their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

— Kristofer Joondeph-Breidbart, Psychiatrist in Somerville, MA

When we avoid the things that scare and give us anxiety, it only give it more power. Exposure therapy (or ERP) is a challenging approach but with a rewarding outcome. We'll go at your pace. Overtime, we'll step into the exact thing that gives us the most fear and concern. Don't worry, you have all the tools you need to overcome this.

— Estrella Askren-Gonzalez, Clinical Trainee in Skokie, IL

Particularly for OCD, Exposure and Response Prevention is the gold standard of care. ERP involves identification and rating fears associated with repetitive thoughts and obsessive behaviors or thoughts to neutralize the fears. Then, systemically and with great care and support, exposure treatment involves graded work on neutralizing the anxiety that arises when approaching rather than avoiding the feared stimulus.

— Tera Lensegrav-Benson, Psychologist in , UT

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It involves gradually exposing the patient to the source of their anxiety while encouraging them to resist the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors. This helps the patient to learn to cope with the anxiety and eventually break the patterns of OCD. I usually do ERP in combination with other forms of CBT, such as cognitive restructuring and relaxation.

— Matt Kirby, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Asheville, NC

Exposure therapy is considered the most evidence based treatment for anxiety and OCD. I utilize this approach with those experiencing a phobia, generalized anxiety, PTSD, or obsessive thought patterns.

— Sprout Therapy PDX, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

When we feel anxious, we often avoid the things that make us feel anxious. This seems so logical, but really, this doesn't help us. In the long run, when we avoid the things that make us feel anxious, we're actually teaching ourselves that we cannot handle these things. Depending on who I'm working with, I may use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which is considered the gold standard for OCD.

— Danielle Wayne, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Boise, ID

I utilize exposure-based methods to treat many anxiety and fear-based symptoms including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and phobias. I will teach you how to approach your fear in such a way that it subsides quickly and allows you to build mastery over it. These techniques are among the most reliable and effective we have. Most clients are amazed at how effectively and efficiently these methods work for them.

— Dr. Joe Groninga, Psychologist in St. Paul, MN

I have over 20 years' experience successfully working with clients using exposure. I have used this approach in treating a wide range of anxiety concerns (e.g., social phobia, panic, health anxiety, claustrophobia) as well as post-traumatic stress. I keep current on developments in exposure therapy through reading, professional conference attendance, and participation in continuing education seminars. I have also published research examining use of exposure in treating post-traumatic stress.

— Christine Scher, Psychologist in Pasadena, CA

Exposure therapy is a staple in assisting my clients with addressing anxiety and anxiety related disorders. I have found great success with this approach. I find the improvements are often pronounced, achieved in a relatively short span of time (months rather than years), and remain long after therapy is concluded.

— Hoa Le, Therapist in Eagan, MN