Exposure Therapy, which includes Exposure and Response Prevention is the behavioural component of cognitive behavioural therapy, in which individuals are supported to confront activities and events that cause them anxiety, distress and discomfort. It is a powerful component of CBT.

During this therapy, individuals will confront objects, activities or situations that they have been avoiding and will learn ways to tolerate the fear, anxiety and distress. This can be done through live behavioural exposures as well as imaginary exposures. 

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) work is used within the context of treating OCD. This work allows people to face their fears and triggers without turning to their rituals and compulsions (whether they are behavioural or mental). Therapists will support individuals in learning a different relationship to their obsessions and intrusive thoughts during the work of ERP. Through repeated practice, individuals will often experience a decrease in anxiety or distress when they engage with difficult situations and triggers without relying on their rituals. Even when people do not experience a decrease in anxiety, they will learn something that they were not expecting. This new learning will replace the old learning. We also focus on carrying out exposure work that is meaningful to the individual as that helps them to live a life that is aligned with their values and the person that they want to be.

Behavioural experiments can also be thought of as a type of exposure therapy. This therapeutic approach allows individuals to make predictions about situations they have been avoiding or fear. Individuals will then plan and carry out these experiments in order to test out their predictions. The outcomes of these experiments are discussed within the context of therapy and allow individuals to gain important insight. 

Exposure Therapy is used within the context of many different anxiety disorders. Individuals with social anxiety, generalized anxiety, phobias and panic disorder all benefit greatly from this powerful behavioural strategy. Within the context of carrying out exposure work, individuals learn that they can handle things that they never thought they could. Individuals with perfectionistic tendencies also benefit from exposure work. 

At FTPS, we use Exposure Therapy and ERP for our clients presenting with OCD, OCD-Related Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders. Even therapy for depression has elements of exposure work as we gradually approach activities that we have been avoiding due to low mood and motivation. Overall, Exposure Therapy is powerful and is considered to be transdiagnostic. This means that individuals with all different types of presenting issues have been shown to have great benefits when this approach is used in therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

FTPS therapists use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with exposure and response therapy (ERP) to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Therapists consider both of these approaches as ideal for treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD therapy requires regular CBT treatment sessions with your therapist. Practice that individuals can do in-between sessions is also important. This practice is important to ensure the effectiveness of the therapy. Sessions with a therapist might take place weekly or bi-weekly. This can be discussed with your individual therapist. 

CBT for adolescents can also be focused on symptoms of OCD. FTPS has a dedicated team of healthcare professionals trained to work with adolescents and teenagers. The approach to OCD is the same. Some concepts are explained in a manner that may resonate better with teens.

To help individuals, FTPS therapists usually begin with delivering a CBT model of OCD. This allows people to better understand how their symptoms align with CBT treatment. This also helps people to understand how treatment will progress. This is a collaborative process between the individual and the therapist.

During OCD therapy, individuals learn connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

As part of CBT therapy, therapists also use exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). Individuals with OCD will experience compulsive behaviours in response to their intrusive thoughts. This can happen when they are exposed to certain internal or external triggers. Using ERP therapy, our therapists will work with individuals to lean into anxiety and face the things they fear.

With regular therapy, both CBT and ERP can help individuals to face things they fear, challenge obsessional doubt, tolerate uncertainty, and challenge their appraisals of their intrusive thoughts.

There are many ways in which CBT for OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can help individuals with OCD:

  • Learn that anxiety is not dangerous. It might be uncomfortable, but we do not have to fear experiencing it
  • Learn connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Exposure Therapy, which involves learning to create exposure hierarchies and plan out exposure work with one’s therapist and in a self-directed manner
  • Learn to challenge core beliefs that drive one’s intrusive thoughts
  • Recognize the role of obsessional doubt and begin to trust in one’s five senses as to what is happening in the here and now
  • Recognize the story of OCD and when on gets pulled into it

Needing OCD therapists near me? Reach out to FTPS! We have OCD therapists provide treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder throughout Ontario and BC. We provide CBT for teens and CBT for adolescents as well. This will help individuals with OCD. Find out more today!

Treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder is best managed by CBT, with a focus on Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This is a highly effective approach for both adolescents and adults with OCD. Other types of approaches that can be integrated include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness.

CBT for Anxiety, similar to CBT for OCD, involves cognitive techniques as well as exposure therapy. At FTPS, therapists use CBT, with a focus on ERP to treat individuals with OCD.

CBT therapy introduces individuals to engaging in exposure to feared or avoided situations, challenging appraisals and leaning into the experience of anxiety. Different skills taught within the context of CBT include:

  • Understanding that intrusive thoughts are experienced by everyone
  • Learning that the relationship to our thoughts is very important and we can diffuse from difficult thoughts. This can allow us to engage in activities that are meaningful
  • Approaching situations that have been avoided or feared
  • Understanding that we can endure distressing situations, even if we don’t enjoy them
  • Coached ERP sessions with your therapist during treatment
  • Understanding that life is an exposure and we can tolerate the uncertainty

Exposure therapy may involve gradually exposing individuals to potential triggers and helping them learn to tolerate the distress and uncertainty of this situation.  Exposure and response prevention therapy will allow people to navigate their lives in a different way and push back against their OCD. Through this work, individuals will enhance their quality of life and engage in meaningful activities. Wanting to find OCD therapists near me? We have the answer! FTPS provides individualized treatment for OCD and always ensures a best fit with your therapist. Find out more today!

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is part of CBT and is used for treating symptoms of OCD. In the habituation model of exposure therapy, individuals will gradually face things that they fear and avoid. In doing so, they will experience a decrease in anxiety and distress as they continue to face what they fear. This is helpful when it happens, but some people still do experience anxiety following their exposure therapy. Given that, other models have been proposed to also understand exposure therapy.

The Inhibitory Learning model of exposure therapy focuses on individuals learning new information during exposure that inhibits or replaces the old learning of fear and anxiety. It also encourages individuals to remain present during exposure and not focus on decreasing symptoms of anxiety. It is important to think about these different ideas during exposure work. They are all very helpful and allow individuals to push through the challenges that ERP can bring. 

At FTPS, the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder includes ERP therapy. Rather than engaging in compulsive responses following an intrusive thought, therapists support people to tolerate anxiety and distress that might arise when not engaging in rituals.  After the ERP therapy session, the therapist assigns in between session work to help practice tolerating distress when not engaging in compulsions. This is reviewed at the next session and further exposure work is planned out for individuals to work on. 

Regular exposure therapy sessions enhance the individuals tolerance towards exposing themselves to triggers, experiencing intrusive thoughts and not engaging in their rituals. Sessions will continue until individuals experience less distress in the face of their triggers OR until they learn to be present with their triggers. One can learn to tolerate distress and shift focus to something more meaningful. This can be done even in the face of anxiety. This is discussed in sessions between clients and therapists during ERP work.

Exposure and response prevention therapy is an ideal technique to help individuals develop new strategies when they have the urge to engage in a compulsion. It also allows people to begin to enjoy meaningful activities rather than engage in their rituals.

This work is done with adults as well as with CBT for teens when the focus is on treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. We provide this treatment using a virtual therapy platform. This is ideal for working on triggers in one’s own home environment. Needing OCD therapists near me? We want to hear from you! At FTPS we provide treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. We work with people in Ontario and BC. Reach out for more information today!

Actually both! ERP is a component of CBT. It is the “B” in CBT and represents behavioural exposure work that individuals engage in as part of CBT.

The ideal treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder is CBT, with an emphasis on Exposure and Response Prevention. FTPS therapists also integrate elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness. 

These approaches are important for OCD therapy. Here are cognitive strategies that one would be taught within the context of CBT for OCD:

  • Using thought records to challenge core beliefs and appraisal systems
  • Learning the responsibility pie technique to challenge thoughts of overinflated responsibility
  • Learning the continuum technique to challenge black and white thinking and recognize that individuals often fall somewhere in the middle of extreme thought patterns
  • Engaging in the survey technique to collect data from others regarding OCD thoughts and beliefs. This can help to challenge these belief systems

Exposure therapy for OCD can include the following strategies:

  • Learning to gradually exposure yourself to triggering situations
  • Being able to tolerate distress and uncertainty in the face of challenging situations
  • Learning new information during exposure therapy that replaces the old information
  • Developing exposure hierarchies and plans that one can carry out in between sessions
  • Creating a different relationship to one’s distress, disgust or anxiety as they carry out exposure plans
  • Being coached by your therapist during in-session exposure work

At FTPS, therapists consider CBT, with a focus on ERP essential for OCD therapy. Treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder can be individualized to each person, depending on symptoms and presentation. This can be discussed with your therapist when you begin your work together. Looking for psychologists near me? FTPS has psychologists on our team as well as therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and psychotherapists. We also offer parent coaching which can provide important skills to help your family when someone has OCD and anxiety. Reach out to us to learn more!

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is a highly effective intervention for individuals with symptoms of OCD. As part of an evidence-based treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, ERP therapy helps individuals to face their fears and learn to lean into their anxiety.  Regular therapy helps individuals to tolerate the distress and anxiety they may experience during exposure work. They will learn to reduce and eliminate their rituals.

During treatment, therapists will conduct in-session exposure work to support individuals through this process. Exposure therapy is ideal for treating various psychological problems including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias. At FTPS, therapists use it as a part of OCD therapy to provide individuals with skills and strategies to resist engaging in their compulsions.

Here’s more about the effectiveness of ERP therapy:

  • Allows individuals to learn they are able to be present during exposure work, even if it is difficult
  • Allows individuals to engage in situations that are uncertain and that they would otherwise avoid
  • Allows individuals to live a life worth living, filled with meaningful activities and relationships

Effective exposure therapy can help to provide individuals with a different relationship to their anxiety. Wanting OCD therapists near me? We would love to hear from you! At FTPS we provide treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. We work with people in Ontario and BC. Reach out for more information today!

Exposure therapy helps individuals to interact with situations that were previously distressing and anxiety-producing.  However, the goal is not necessarily to reduce anxiety. It is important to learn that anxiety is not dangerous. It is definitely uncomfortable! But we all do experience it at times.

At FTPS, therapists introduce individuals who experience OCD to exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). This helps people to face their fear instead of avoid situations that are triggering. ERP therapy can include gradual exposure to the potential trigger.

In order to do this, you will do a number of things with your therapist:

  • Create an exposure hierarchy together in session
  • Carry out exposure session during therapy as well as in between sessions
  • Use both imaginal and in vivo exposures
  • Write out coping scripts that can be used instead of compulsions during exposure therapy

Exposure therapy helps individuals with:

  • Learning new information when they encounter triggers
  • Tolerating uncertainty even in very distressing situations
  • Navigating the world in a way that is more flexible and less rigid

Exposure therapy is an important aspect of CBT. At FTPS we use CBT for teens and CBT for adolescents. It is highly effective and can help your loved one achieve the life they want. Looking for psychologists near me? FTPS has you covered! We have psychologists on our team as well as therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and psychotherapists. We also offer parent coaching which can provide important skills to help your family when someone has OCD and anxiety. Reach out to us to learn more!