EXPOSURE THERAPY

Serving Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Westchester, and Surrounding Areas in Connecticut and New York

What is exposure therapy? Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that is the most effective for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders. In fact, it is often referred to as the “gold-standard” of psychological treatments for various anxiety disorders, as it is the most effective approach. The goal of exposure therapy is to reduce avoidance of feared situations, which ultimately leads to reduction in anxiety about these situations. This treatment causes short-term anxiety, but ultimately reduces anxiety in the long-term.

What does exposure therapy look like? I will help you gradually and systematically confront your fears and face anxiety-provoking situations that you have been avoiding via exposures. Exposures can be conducted as imaginal (i.e., imagining a feared situation), in vivo (i.e., in real life) and interoceptive (i.e., confronting feared physical sensations). By doing exposures, you will learn that feared consequences are unlikely to come true and that your anxiety will eventually go down even after facing anxiety-provoking situation.  I will also teach you what causes and maintains anxiety, and work with you to reframe unhelpful thoughts.

What do you use exposure therapy for? I mainly use exposure therapy for social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, health anxiety, and phobias. I at times incorporate it into eating disorder treatment. 

What about exposure and response prevention (ERP)? ERP is a treatment for OCD that I use. It involves exposure to anxiety-provoking obsessions in a gradual and systematic fashion, while reducing compulsive behaviors (e.g., checking, washing, ordering) that are typically used to reduce anxiety. ERP provides you the opportunity to learn that what you are afraid of occurring is unlikely to come true. It also helps to desensitize and build tolerance to obsessions.