Exposure Therapy for Anxiety and What to Expect

Exposure Therapy for Anxiety and What to Expect

What is Exposure Therapy?

A type of behavioral therapy called exposure therapy is frequently used to help people with phobias and anxiety disorders. It incorporates a person confronting their fears, whether they are real or imagined, in the safe space while being guided by a trained professional therapist. It has been proven to be successful and may be performed on individuals of all ages.

Knowing more about exposure therapy can help you decide on a course of treatment and can also help you be prepared for what to anticipate.

How does it Work?

The main goal for exposure therapy is to actually expose you to the very situation, event or object that triggers anxiety, fear or panic. Exposure therapy is provided to you in small controlled doses until eventually each controlled exposure slowly starts to decrease the amount of anxiety and panic you experience to that trigger. You discuss how this will happen with your therapist before you begin to ensure you are ready and the exposure intensity is right for you.

Within the exposure therapy method, there are various techniques that can be used to accomplish your goal:

  • In vivo exposure- This technique uses direct exposure to the trigger by a.
  • Imaginal exposure- This technique uses imaginative exposure to the trigger by envisioning the trigger in vivid detail by using your own imagination.
  • Virtual reality exposure- This technique uses virtual reality to exposure you to your trigger in a real way without actually facing reality.
  • Interoceptive exposure- This technique utilizes purposefully inducing the symptoms of your anxiety without exposing you to the actual object, situation, or event that triggers you.

What Type of Anxiety can it Help?

Generalized Anxiety
Both imaginal exposure and in-person exposure can be used as treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), however in-person exposure is less frequently used. Both imaginal exposure and cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) were more effective at improving overall functioning in GAD patients than relaxation techniques and nondirective therapy.

Social Anxiety
Individuals with social anxiety are frequently treated with in-person exposure. This can include engaging in social interactions and not avoiding particular activities. Exposure therapy combined with or without cognitive therapy may help to lessen social anxiety symptoms.

Driving Anxiety
People who have a phobia of driving have benefited from virtual reality exposure therapy. It has been proven beneficial in lowering driving anxiety, although further investigation is still needed on this particular phobia. Exposure therapy might need to be combined with other treatments.

Public Speaking
Adults and teenagers who are anxious about public speaking have been found to benefit from virtual reality exposure treatment. Some people have even claimed that after a 3-hour session, their anxiety had significantly decreased.

Separation Anxiety
One of the most common anxiety disorders in children is separation anxiety disorder. The best treatment for it is thought to be exposure therapy. This involves exposing the child to feared circumstances while simultaneously promoting adaptable thoughts and behaviors. The anxiety seems to fade over time, through this exposure.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is frequently treated with exposure and response prevention (ERP), which makes use of both in person and imaginal exposure. Both during therapy sessions and as homework, you would be exposed to in person situations (part of reaction avoidance is refraining from obsessive behavior). Instead of engaging in actions that would reduce anxiety, a person waits for it to go away naturally. Imaginal exposure is utilized when in person exposure is too difficult or impractical.

Panic Disorder

The treatment for panic disorder frequently involves interoceptive exposure therapy. Interoceptive exposure and face-to-face settings, i.e., working with a trained professional, were associated with higher rates of success and people were more receptive to the treatment.

Exposure therapy is for you! Now what?

Working with a therapist who has received training in the safe and effective use of exposure therapy is crucial when using certain types of exposure therapy to prevent unnecessary distress or harm to your mental health.

If you are ready to begin the journey of overcoming your anxiety with exposure therapy then we are here for you. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of caring therapists who are highly trained in helping you work through anxiety and create a life you want to be a part of. The natural next step is to call us at (405) 921-7776. We hope to meet you soon!

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Andrew BrownAndrew Brown
11:05 06 Feb 24
Shawn called me directly and sought out a resolution with me for a recent poor experience I had. He showed genuine care and consideration over the phone, and demonstrated he truly cares about the clients that come here and wants everyone to get the help they need. That's how it needs to be in any place helping others in God. God bless.
Andy EatonAndy Eaton
21:00 11 Oct 23
I totally recommend Josh Rhoades. He's helped me overcome a lot of anxiety and work-related stress and the effects it's had on me this year. For any guys out there wondering if they should go to counseling, you should definitely give Josh and New Vision a try.
Mark VonFeldtMark VonFeldt
12:04 23 Aug 23
I admit I didn't think I needed counciling but when I hit a tough period in life. Caleb McKean at New Vison Counseling was extrodinary in helping me out and providing encourgement, prespective and confidence. In addition, it was great seeing Shawn McGuire who consitantly provided an uplifting personality that’s just contagious.
Elizabeth ProtzmanElizabeth Protzman
11:41 24 May 23
My husband and I just wrapped up counseling with Shawn. And if you told me 6 months ago our family would be how we are now, I would have been in total disbelief. Shawn’s approach to counseling is next level and took us to new places we never thought that we could experience freedom and he put a light on places we never knew were still dragging us down.My husband (before counseling) had past trauma that weighed him down so heavily that his negative self talk was taking over his mental life. He was completely unable to be social anywhere, see positivity in anything, and talked with a super meek voice because he didn’t see worth in himself. We thought that “this is just his personality”, but Shawn was able to uncover the trauma that was holding him back and helped him break free of it. He now speaks with a voice to be heard and even he engages in social situations!I went through a terrible health scare while we were going through sessions. My optometrist thought that I had a tumor or fluid build up in my skull. Shawn helped me navigate all of the feelings that I kept shoving down. On my second session of talking about this medical situation, we really got to the root of my stress and behavior in this situation and in life. I felt a ton of weight lifted off of me in that moment just by digging out every root in my heart that wasn’t welcome there. Later that day (a Thursday) I had my MRI scans and that Sunday I woke up headache/migraine free for the first time in four months. Monday I got the news that nothing was there. I truly believe that God did a healing work in that therapy session. A physical healing of my body and a spiritual healing of my mind.Through all of this Shawn was not only there for just our counseling sessions, but when I was going through all of the medical stuff he would check in and see how everything was going. He recommended for my husband to go to a camp that absolutely played a part in changing my husband’s life. And all that I’ve shared is only the surface of all of the healing we received. I would have to write a novel for the rest, lol.If you’re looking for healing and willing to show up and put in the work…Shawn will help you get there.
Steve RodriguezSteve Rodriguez
14:25 06 May 22
New Vision Counseling and Consulting saved my marriage as they helped and are helping me deal with my issues with depression and anxiety. I have been taught new methods of dealing with these issues and they are life saving. I have enjoyed my experience with Shawn Maguire, the best therapist I could ask for, and feel this place is a Godsend. I never thought therapy would work for me but I was wrong and wish I had come here sooner. Excited for what the future holds.

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