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


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 Vancouver, WA

I have advanced training in Exposure and Response Prevention (E/RP) therapy. I utilized this form of therapy to help people with anxiety, panic and OCD.

— Jody Dearborn, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

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 have advanced training in Exposure and Response Prevention (E/RP) therapy. I utilize exposure therapy to help people with anxiety, panic and OCD.

— Jody Dearborn, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Exposures are a form of experiential (interactive) treatment which works to lower the somatic (physical) response to trauma. During treatment a client is slowly exposed to situations, places, or fears that cause distress, of course with safety as a priority, with desired outcome being a diminished response. One form of exposure is ERP which specifically works on reduction of response and ritual in OCD. Studies show ERP to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for OCD.

— Dorothy Smith, Counselor in Centreville, VA

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 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 years of training and this is the primary modality I use with clients struggling with Anxiety disorders. I also supervise clinicians who are learning to use this treatment approach with their clients.

— Abigail Lynch, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Chicago, IL

I have 50 hours of training in Exposure and Response Therapy which is effective for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other anxiety issues.

— Lynne Coon, Counselor in Portland, OR

I am BTTI trained by the International OCD Foundation in Exposure Response Prevention. This is considered the best way to treat OCD and anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy focuses on helping you learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety in order to retrain your brain to stop sending the distress signal in the first place.

— Cory Anton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Vancouver, WA

I offer exposure-based treatments for individuals of all ages with severe anxiety disorders, such as OCD, severe social anxiety, and panic attacks.

— Ziv Bell, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Mercer Island, WA

Exposure therapy is the treatment choice for a variety of anxiety-related disorders and is the most effective method in the treatment of OCD (also known as ERP, Exposure Response Prevention). The exposure is usually done gradually and rapidly, to enhance desensitization. Exposure therapy is also used to treat trauma and is usually called PE (Prolonged Exposure). ​

— Keren Shemesh, Psychologist in Mountain View, CA

Anxiety fosters avoidance which fosters anxiety. Working in a systematic and guided way, approaching and experiencing that which we fear reduces anxiety and distress.

— Sheryl Pierre, Psychologist in Moorestown, NJ