Our therapists specialize providing ERP for OCD and other anxiety disorders.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), otherwise known as exposure therapy, is an evidence-based method of treatment within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ERP has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a wide range of Anxiety Disorders. These disorders include: Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Health Anxiety, and Specific Phobias.
The goal of ERP is to help individuals learn to tolerate their anxiety and resist the urge to engage in their usual rituals or avoidance behaviors. This allows people to learn that their feelings of discomfort and doubts naturally subside on their own without them doing anything about it.
Here’s what you can expect in an ERP treatment session:
- The therapist will help a client create a list of triggers (people, places, things, thoughts, fears, situations, images, objects, physical sensations, memories). that produce feelings of anxiety/distress/discomfort This is often referred to as an Anxiety Hierarchy.
- The therapist will help a client create a similar list of any rituals/compulsive acts they perform to get rid of anxiety. To track progress and help organize the hierarchy, it’s helpful to rate how much discomfort it would cause if the individua was unable to perform each one
- A lower-level item on the hierarchy is chosen, so the client does not feel too overwhelmed. With support and guidance, the client will intentionally confront/expose themselves to that triggers while refraining from engaging in ritual and/or avoidance behavior.
- The client will rate their anxiety level as they are resisting that typical response
- The client will stay with the exposure until their initial anxiety level comes down to at least half of what it was at the beginning of the exposure
- The client will continue with exposures until lower-level items produce minimal anxiety and gradually work your way up the hierarchy