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Exposure and Response Prevention

Exposure and Response Prevention is an intervention commonly used to treat anxiety disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) looks at obsessive styles of thinking and compulsive styles of behavior, striving to understand how they influence both each other and anxiety in unhelpful ways. Compulsions can be very effective in their reduction of anxiety in the short term, but the same compulsions can be harmful or cause trouble in the long run. ERP aims to break the link between obsessions and anxiety, while simultaneously separating compulsive actions from the sensation of anxiety relief. Ultimately, ERP can help with toleration of uncertainty and the alteration of beliefs that cause anxiety in the first place.

  • As ERP's name suggests, exposure to feared situations and the prevention of compulsive and unhelpful responses is an important component of this therapy. However, ERP is another highly collaborative therapy that involves the creation of a treatment plan and justification that both you and your therapist agree on. Therapeutic results can be tracked throughout the entire process so you will know when ERP is working as intended. You will always be in control of your own treatment.

  • Exposure is most commonly associated with OCD, but can be adapted for phobias, panic disorder, PTSD, and more. ERP often takes about 16 sessions but can begin and progress at the pace you are most comfortable with.

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