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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Fear is a powerful emotion. Since 2019, a specialty of mine has been using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to help teens and adults who struggle with anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When you are able to use exposure in a therapeutic way, it becomes a powerful tool to help you break free of fear, and live the life you desire.

— Michelle Henny, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Orlando, FL

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
 

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

I have attended multiple training courses on this topic and have provided training and supervision in this area.

— Alison Schweichler, Counselor in Orchard Park, NY
 

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

Fear is a powerful emotion. Since 2019, a specialty of mine has been using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to help teens and adults who struggle with anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When you are able to use exposure in a therapeutic way, it become a powerful tool to help you break free of fear and live the life you desire.

— Michelle Henny, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Orlando, FL
 

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

Exposure therapy (ERP) is used to help a patient approach and engage with whatever is causing them anxiety, and this is done without the use of anxiety reduction or what are referred to as coping skills. It is thought that continually confronting an individual's feared stimulus and there being an absence of the expected feared consequence, that there will be a reduction or depletion in the "fear," "panic," and "anxiety," that the individual is now currently dealing with.

— TERILYNN SIMONS, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate
 

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 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
 

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

I primarily utilize Exposure and Response Prevention when working with folks with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, or disorders with underlying anxiety concerns.

— Brandi Stalzer, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
 

I use Exposure Therapy often in my work with clients that are anxious and have specific fears and phobias.

— Melissa Urbanek, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , MN

Exposure therapy is about facing discomfort, often in the service of doing what matters. If this sounds like ACT based on my description above, that makes sense; these treatments pair well with one another. Exposure therapy, often called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a process of transforming one's relationship with discomfort and avoidance. It can be done very systematically or more organically, and ACT helps dive deeper into managing the thoughts and feelings that show up.

— Rachel LaFleur, Psychologist in Baltimore, MD
 

Exposure therapy (and specifically Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD-like symptoms including compulsions) is great for fighting back against avoidance behaviors. If you've been avoidant lately, this approach could be a helpful part of your therapy. And when we do the preparation for this work, "exposure" isn't as scary as it sounds! I have a certification in childhood and adolescent anxiety treatment, and have completed trainings by the International OCD Foundation.

— Ky'an Kelly, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in , 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