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 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

Most of us have goals or values that take work. Sometimes the work feels frightening or painful, leading to avoidance. It's natural to wish to avoid pain, but that can create more problems for us long-term. In order to have a life worth living, we must confront our fears. In a safe environment and with incremental steps, exposure to our fears can reduce discomfort and avoidance over time.

— Inness Pryor, Counselor in Portland, OR

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 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 and Response Prevention (ERP) is a specialized form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) primarily used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The main goal of ERP is to help individuals with OCD gradually confront feared situations and resist compulsions through a tailored treatment plan. Over time, repeated exposure to the feared situations or thoughts without engaging in the usual compulsions can lead to decreased anxiety and confidence in breaking the OCD cycle.

— Kristen Suleman, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

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

ERP is a therapy technique that helps you confront your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors in a safe and controlled way. During ERP, we'll work together to gradually expose you to situations or stimuli that trigger your OCD, anxiety, and phobias. We'll do this in a step-by-step way that helps you feel more in control and less anxious. Through our work together, you'll learn to break free from the cycle of fear and anxiety, and regain your sense of control and well-being.

— Julie Gruca, Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago, IL

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 (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

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

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

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 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 several years of experience and training in exposure therapy. I have successfully utilize this approach to support my clientele struggling with fears of vomit, snakes/spiders, socializing with peers, natural distasters, etc. While utilizing this approach, I have found that my clientele finish therapy feeling more confident, capable, and no longer in distress with the once feared stimuli.

— Brooke Rawls, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

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

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

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