What is Exposure Therapy?
by Rebecca Hill
Exposure Therapy is a specific approach to treating fears, phobias and scenarios that overwhelm a person. If you have a fear that limits your life in some way or causes you unmanageable distress, then this might be the approach to consider.
Firstly you’ll identify the fear, you’ll explore it’s origins and you’ll look at the impact it’s having on your current life. You’ll explore how you’d like to feel about this in the future and what you might need to make that your reality.
Together with your therapist, you’ll make a specific plan about how you might get from where you are now to where you want to be. This series of steps will form the back-drop to your therapeutic experience of Exposure Therapy.
It’s crucial to remember that you will remain in control at all times. You will never be asked to do something that you don’t want to do or aren’t ready to do. You’ll never be placed in an unexpected situation or be subjected to surprises. Instead you will plan everything together and take each new step when you feel ready.
The therapist will help you to plan your journey appropriately, will guide you in relation to safely pacing yourself, will support you with each new step and talk you through your mental processes, so that you understand exactly what is happening.
Gradually and gently, you’ll work at a comfortable pace, through a series of ‘exposures’ that you have planned and controlled. Slowly, you’ll eradicate your fear and regain a sense of ownership over the original issue.
Exposure therapy can be used to help with almost any fear. Although shame and embarrassment are often connected to fear, it’s important to remember that in therapy you won’t be judged and nothing is deemed stupid. If it’s negatively impacting you then please seek help as that’s exactly what we’re here for.