Exposure Therapies

Exposure therapy was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities, situations and/or engage in rituals to make themselves feel “safe.” Although avoidance and rituals may help reduce feelings of fear and anxiety in the short-term, over the long-term it can make these feelings become even worse. Exposure therapy breaks this fear-avoidance pattern. With a supportive and expert therapist, exposure therapy allows someone to strategically confront the very situations and objects they are avoiding (exposure) while blocking all rituals, compulsions, and other safety behaviors (response prevention). Through this exposure and response prevention,  important learning occurs about how likely the feared consequences are to occur, how bad the consequence would actually be, and how one would cope should these consequences happen.

Exposure therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment or treatment component for a range of problems, including:

  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

At the Seattle Clinic we offer a wide-variety of exposure-based treatments including:

·       Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD

·       Prolonged Exposure (PE) for PTSD