Exposure therapy is a type of behavioural therapy that is often used to treat various phobias and anxiety disorders. The goal of therapy is to work alongside the Social Worker/Psychotherapist to face fears and anxiety in a safe setting, that is either in a real-life situation or in-vivo.

How does it work?

  • It can help the client to reduce feelings of anxiety, distress, or fear that they may have due to trauma or diagnosis
  • The client will be exposed to these fears in a safe space and hope to reach the goal of reducing their feelings of anxiety and distress.
  • The Social Worker/Psychotherapist will use different types of exposure depending on the fear or disorder including but not limited to:
    • Creating a real-life situation for the person to go through, using talking therapy to encourage the person, to imagine situations to recall traumatic events
    • Avoidance hierarchy
    • Behavioural experiment
    • Learn to cope with body sensations
    • Testing predictions looking at the intolerance of uncertainty.

What can it treat?

  • Hoarding
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Adverse Childhood experiences

Types of Exposure used in session:

  • Imaginal Exposure: patient in therapy is asked to mentally confront the fear or situation by picturing it in their mind.
  • In-Vivo Exposure: patient is exposed to real-life objects and scenarios.

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