If you or someone you know has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), chances are you’ve considered mental health therapy as a treatment option. But not all types of therapy are best suited to help people with OCD. It’s important to find a therapist that specializes in treating OCD so that you can learn the right tools and coping mechanisms to challenge your compulsions. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy is a viable option for most clients looking to find relief from their OCD symptoms.
What is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy and How Does it Work?
ERP Therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that is designed to treat OCD symptoms specifically. It differs from traditional talk therapy as it aims to target and prevent the ritual behaviors of those with OCD. To break it down, you and your therapist will work together on exposing yourself to any thoughts, circumstances, images, and/or objects that trigger your obsessions. In doing so, you will learn how to deliberately prevent yourself from acting on your compulsions despite the anxiety that comes along with the exposure.
This may sound scary at first, but your provider will guide you through how to safely confront your obsessions so that you can prevent your compulsive behaviors over time. Once you’ve had some practice with the techniques of ERP therapy, you will notice that your anxiety decreases when you don’t give into your compulsions. Despite what your OCD tries to make you believe, you will actually feel better when you are exposed to the things that make you anxious without reacting. Eventually, you will grow to accept your obsessions as they are rather than feeling the desperate need to neutralize them. Reducing the need to carry out your compulsions is known as habituation, and it plays a major role in the healing process of ERP therapy.
How Do I Know if ERP Therapy is Right For Me?
Seeking professional help for your OCD can be challenging. Deciding to start ERP Therapy can feel like you’re betraying yourself – why put yourself through the discomfort of exposing yourself to the very things that send your anxiety into overdrive? However, extensive research has shown that ERP, as well as medication, have been deemed the most effective modalities of treatment for OCD. If you’re exhausted from the constant cycle of feeling like you’re in danger unless you act on your compulsions, it may be time to find a therapist that can provide support.
OCD can truly feel like a prison; your mind sets off alarm bells for threats that aren’t actually present and it can feel like the only way to shut the alarm off is to engage in compulsive behaviors. With time, persistence, and commitment, ERP therapy will equip you with the techniques you need to change the way your brain works. This way, you can challenge your anxiety instead of giving into it.
Getting Started in OCD Treatment
Are you ready to move forward in your OCD recovery journey? At Allyson Ford Counseling Services, I offer online therapy to California residents. I specialize in treating OCD through ERP therapy. As someone who has personally recovered from OCD, I can lead you through virtual ERP therapy sessions with empathy, compassion, and judgment-free care. You deserve to be free from the hold that your OCD rituals have over you, and we can work together to achieve that. I offer free consultation calls if you’d like to reach out to talk more about getting started in online OCD treatment.