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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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

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

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

Exposure and Response Prevention is a difficult therapy that is excellent at supporting individuals with OCD to slow the obsession/ compulsion cycle.

— Ruth Conviser, Clinical Social Worker in Philadelphia, PA

Exposure therapy helps people not fear their obsessions or panic attacks, for example. When we learn not to fear a panic attack, for example, they will not return. Intrusive thoughts, obsessions and compulsive behaviors are destroyed with exposure to the Truth that you have nothing to fear from them and never did.

— Adam Pearson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in MARION, IL

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (along with CPT) are considered the gold standard for treating PTSD. It is an intervention strategy commonly use to help individuals confront fears and gradually approach trauma-related memories. By facing something that has been avoided, a person can decrease PTSD symptoms.

— Stanley Wipfli, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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

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

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

Exposure and Response Prevention , also known as Exposure Therapy, has been scientifically proven to make significant reductions in the fight, flight or freeze response in the brains of individuals experiencing OCD. This is why ERP is considered the gold standard for treatment. ERP involves identifying your obsessions, compulsions, grieving all that OCD has taken from your life and then tolerating the uncertainty as you face your fears. I have advanced training in ERP with adults and adolscents.

— Angelica Onofrio, Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

I am a behaviorist at heart so I use Prolonged Exposure Therapy and can pull from Exposure & Response Prevention.

— Kate Sayers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Milwaukee, WI

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.

— Joe Groninga, Psychologist in St. Paul, MN

When we avoid the things that scare and give us anxiety, it only give it more power over us. 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. We'll sit with the anxiety. Sounds like a big ol' 'NOPE' to you, doesn't it?! Don't worry, when this time comes, you'll have all the tools you need to manage.

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

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

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 primarily used to treat anxiety and trauma. It helps you face your fears, so they no longer control you.

— Dr. Michael Drane, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Everett, WA

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

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