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.

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

Meet the specialists

 

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.

— Kevin Yu, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Chicago, IL

I first learned exposure therapy in 2011. Since then, I have been performing individual and group-based exposure therapy for anxiety and have provided clinical supervision for trainees. In the VA, I learned Prolonged Exposure (PE) for Veterans with PTSD. I conduct exposures within an ACT-framework. We don't exposure ourselves to situations, thoughts, emotions, and sensations to torture ourselves; rather, we learn to tolerate distress so that we can engage with the people and things that matter.

— Daniel Paulus, Clinical Psychologist in Philadelphia, PA
 

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

Exposure Therapy, sometimes also called Exposure and Response Prevention, can help individuals with OCD break the cycle of intrusive thought, compulsion, temporary relief, and return of the intrusive thoughts.

— Kristofer Joondeph-Breidbart, Psychiatrist in Somerville, MA
 

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 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
 

I have had extensive training in ERP for OCD, PE for PTSD, and exposure treatment for phobias and social anxiety. This training included included weekly supervision and observation. In the last two years of my career, I have predominately worked with individuals needing this treatment modality.

— Cherie Adams-Ndlovu, Licensed Professional Counselor

I am professionally trained in Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Bereavement Counseling, however I bring to my practice a marriage of several theoretical perspectives to offer interventions that are unique to the individual client I am working with. Of utmost value is the therapeutic relationship, which has a larger impact on client outcomes than any single intervention

— Lisa Henshaw, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY
 

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

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the gold standard in the field to reduce and manage intrusive and distressing experiences associated with obsessions and compulsions in OCD.

— Natasha Moharter, Counselor
 

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

As I am a highly interpersonal and participatory focused clinician I believe that the use of exposure therapy can be both a challenging yet effective tool. I have been using exposure therapy as one of many tools to assist you in being able to manage difficult situations. Hypothetical scenarios will only bring the therapeutic process so far and to be able to put those words into action will make the difference.

— Colin Bergeson, Clinical Social Worker in Franklin Park, NJ
 

An excellent part of treatment for panic and anxiety, as well as trauma. Includes Cognitive Processing Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Written Exposure Therapy, and Prolonged exposure.

— Ann LeFevre, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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
 

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

It's not like in the movies. Exposure therapy is done in very small steps, which are dictated by your comfort level, and designed to help you increase your tolerance of discomfort.

— Sonia Kersevich, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Greenbelt, MD
 

As I am a highly interpersonal and participatory focused clinician I believe that the use of exposure therapy can be both a challenging yet effective tool. I have been using exposure therapy as one of many tools to assist you in being able to manage difficult situations. Hypothetical scenarios will only bring the therapeutic process so far and to be able to put those words into action will make the difference.

— Colin Bergeson, Clinical Social Worker in Franklin Park, NJ

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 have completed specialized OCD training with the Behavior Therapy Training Institute which is affiliated with the International OCD Foundation.

— Anna Cross, Licensed Professional Counselor

I have had extensive training in ERP for OCD, PE for PTSD, and exposure treatment for phobias and social anxiety. This training included included weekly supervision and observation. In the last two years of my career, I have predominately worked with individuals needing this treatment modality.

— Cherie Adams-Ndlovu, Licensed Professional Counselor