ERP Example for OCD

ERP General Information

​​​Exposure and Response Prevention

When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid those feared objects, activities, or situations.  Although this avoidance might help reduce anxiety in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse. ​ERP is the #1 recommended treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias. It works by breaking the link between your obsessional thoughts, images, or impulses and the compulsive things you do to relieve the distress they cause, including avoidance behaviors. ERP includes gradual exposure to situations which cue obsessions while refraining from compulsive behaviors.  ERP involves facing actual situations as well as imagined situations (e.g., imaginal exposures), approaching least-to-most distressing situations in a systematic, organized manner. Each time you carry out an ERP exercise it becomes easier and easier, and the anxiety or distress gradually subsides.

Examples of therapy goals for treating OCD:

  • Step-by-step guide based on your individual manifestation of OCD
  • Identifying triggers for obsessive thinking and ritualizing
  • Understand OCD feelings, urges, and behaviors
  • Exposure/Response Prevention Therapy-In vivo and imaginal exposure to learn to face fears or discomfort
  • Learning to break the cycle of fear and endless rituals
  • Reducing avoidance behaviors
  • Cognitive therapy to replace exaggerated, fearful thinking with more realistic and healthy thinking
  • Step-by-step coping tools and problem-solving strategies
  • Develop coping strategies to manage stressful situations
  • Family education
  • Relapse prevention strategies

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