If you’re reading this, you’ve likely experienced anxiety. If so, congratulations! Anxiety is a normal part of being human. It can be helpful to learn about how your anxiety works and ways to cope with it. This article will explain more about exposure therapy and how it works.
What is Exposure therapy?
Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help people overcome their fears. It is based on the idea that it is the only way to overcome your fears, so you can be free from them. Exposure therapy involves exposing yourself to the thing you are afraid of, in a safe and controlled way.
Exposure therapy may include:
- A therapist or counsellor helps you write down all your thoughts and feelings about what scares you (the “exposure”). These thoughts should be written down as if they were spoken out loud by someone else.
- The therapist asks questions about these thoughts and then helps create new ways of thinking. For example, if your fear was spiders crawling up walls, then maybe instead, think about how much fun it would be if spider webs covered everything around me!
Why is exposure therapy done?
Exposure therapy is used to treat anxiety disorders, phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Exposure therapy starts with the person being exposed to the fear-inducing stimulus or situation they have avoided for so long.
The therapist will then help them learn how to tolerate their fears to gain control over them. This means that you may have an experience where you’re exposed. Still, not necessarily in the same situation every time—this helps ensure your brain doesn’t associate what happened before with future exposures!
How does exposure therapy work?
The person is exposed to what they fear in a safe environment, and they are encouraged to stay there until they no longer feel fearful.
Exposure therapy may be used as part of behavioural therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), or supportive counselling for phobias such as social anxiety disorder or specific phobias such as arachnophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, and trichotillomania (hair pulling).
Who can benefit from it?
Exposure therapy can be used to help people with a wide range of phobias and other anxiety disorders.
The goal is to gradually desensitize your brain to these triggers so that you no longer feel fear when exposed to them.
It’s an approach that has been used for more than 50 years, and there are many studies supporting its effectiveness in treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
Exposure therapy is a powerful tool for treating anxiety and fear, particularly in the context of trauma. It’s a great option for anyone who has been affected by a traumatic experience, or who suffers from panic attacks when faced with certain situations.
In this article, we looked at how exposure therapy works and why you might want to consider it yourself.