Exposure Therapy: All you need to know.

What is Exposure Therapy? 

According to the American Psychological Association, Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities, or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse. In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of exposure therapy in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and fear. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities, or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.

In short, Exposure therapy is the idea that exposing people to their fears in controlled amounts will help people ultimately overcome their fears and decrease the chances of those people avoiding that fear.

Who can it help? 

Exposure therapy is usually used to help people with PTSD. However it can also be used to help those with phobias, anxiety and panic attacks and people with obsessive compulsive disorders.

Types of Treatment

  1. In vivo exposure: This involves the person directly facing their fears. For example, a person who is afraid of bugs may be directly exposed to them.
  2. Imaginal exposure: This involves the person mentally pushing themselves to recreate the fear or imagine and discussing it.
  3. Virtual reality exposure: This method is the same as In vivo exposure, but is used when peoples fears are not easily obtainable or difficult to recreate.
  4. Interoceptive exposure: This involves the person bringing their fear upon themselves and realizing that it can not harm them.

Rate of Treatment

Treatment can be administered three different ways. The first way is Graded exposure. In graded exposure, the person is slowly exposed to their fears and is gradually increased as the treatment progresses. For some this means starting with “easy fears” and progressing to more difficult ones. The second rate of treatment is Flooding. In flooding, the person starts with multiple fears at once and is usually exposed to their greatest fears. The last rate of treatment is Systematic Desensitization. This type of treatment places people with their fears however, they are relaxed beforehand. The idea is that they will be relaxed and therefore will not feel the fear as strongly and eliminate it altogether.

Sourced from: http://www.div12.org/sites/default/files/WhatIsExposureTherapy.pdf

19 thoughts on “Exposure Therapy: All you need to know.

  1. There are a lot of courses of psychotherapy now. But the problem is often to find a good therapist while sitting at home, so as not to go anywhere, now it is especially difficult with these quarantines. That’s why I can say from myself that here you should definitely contact the free therapy online chat , because I personally am very glad that I was able to find a good online chat. You should also think about the fact that this is a great way for those who do not like to communicate in real life. I’m an introverted person and it’s close to me. Therefore, it was comfortable for me to communicate with the therapist online for many reasons.

  2. This is totally random, but I wanted to thank you so much for doing these articles. Seriously, thank you so much for spreading awareness, education, and compassion towards mental illnesses, even “scary” mental illnesses that no one seems to want to talk about without stigma (like one of my diagnoses). It seriously means the world, especially because you’re probably also networking with other therapists to spread this amazing positive mindset. Stigma still exists among people in the psychology field, and it hurts as a patient, so thank you. (and sorry for rambling!)
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