Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the first-line psychotherapy treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related disorders. This treatment involves the individual purposely confronting obsessions (feared thoughts, objects, images, or situations) without engaging in the accompanying compulsion that they usually use to decrease the anxiety associated with their obsessive thoughts. The individual begins by addressing mildly feared stimuli and, after experiencing success with that, increases in severity when ready.
Through ERP, one learns to tolerate the distress associated with the obsessions until it reduces naturally on its own, without the use of a compulsion, through general psychological principles of exposure. Individuals begin to habituate to the intrusive thoughts and realize they no longer need to rely on compulsive behaviors for temporary relief. What an exciting discovery this is! With this experience, over time, the obsession fails to provoke the same amount of distress as it did previously.
The idea of ERP may seem scary and intimidating, but clients are well-prepared by the treating therapist before beginning this approach. Throughout treatment the client has full control of the exposures and the therapist is there to facilitate progress. If you would like to overcome your obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors to find the peaceful place that resides within you, give us a call to schedule your appointment today.