What is Exposure Therapy?
Exposure therapy is an evidence-based therapy used to help people manage anxiety disorders. It involves exposing patients to their feared situation or object in a safe setting.
A psychologist or other mental health professional may suggest exposure therapy if you are afraid of a certain object, activity, or situation. It can also be used to break the cycle of avoidance which may lead to phobias and other forms of anxiety.
Exposure therapy refers to any method or technique used in order to expose you to your anxiety in a controlled environment, with the purpose of helping you confront and overcome that fear and engage meaningfully with it.
This technique involves gradually exposing patients to fear-inducing stimuli through increasingly harder tasks, which may take several sessions but eventually leads to the reduction of symptoms as time passes.
In vivo exposure therapy is the most common form of exposure therapy, in which the patient faces their fear directly. This can be especially harrowing for those suffering from PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder who would find it difficult to have this experience in real life.
Imaginal exposure is often combined with other techniques to help the person feel at ease with the feared object or situation. This could involve vividly picturing the feared object or setting up an imagined environment that recreates the traumatic experience.