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

 

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 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
 

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

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
 

I use exposure and response prevention (ERP) in working with individuals living with OCD.

— Amy DiVincenzo, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Indianapolis, IN

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
 

I integrate gradual exposure therapy for children with specific anxieties, such as Selective Mutism, social anxiety, or separation anxiety. This helps them reverse the cycle of anxiety and feel empowered! Throughout the journey, they will have lots of support and realize they are much braver than they realize.

— Madison Crook, Licensed Professional Counselor in Greenville, SC

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 Los Angeles, CA
 

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 Gonzalez, Clinical Trainee in Skokie, IL

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
 

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

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
 

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 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 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 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 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 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