Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Exposure therapy reduces the physical or emotional distress you
experience when confronted with a particular object, situation, or distressing
thought or memory. During exposure therapy counseling, you may relive a
traumatic experience, confront a feared object or situation, or deal with a
distressing thought while in a controlled environment.
During this type of therapy, a counselor helps you while you remember
or visualize the feared object or distressing thought. The counselor also helps
you work through the physical and emotional distress that may occur during
this experience. Confronting and learning to cope with the distressing feelings
gradually reduces your symptoms.
I didn’t expect to faint at the sight of my son’s blood. As a mother, my job
is to nurse boo-boos -- and when when my son came to me after smashing his
thumb a few months ago, I prepared to do my best Florence Nightingale. Then I
saw the blood.
The room began to spin. I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt all the color
drain from my face. After yelling upstairs to my husband to take over, I slid
to the kitchen floor.
Psychologists don’t know exactly why up to 15% of us experience the plunge
Activities during exposure therapy vary, depending on the fear,
distressing thought, or traumatic experience.
virtual reality are sometimes used. Typically during
this type of therapy, you are encouraged to:
Talk about your fears, thoughts, or feelings of
Learn ways to face the fear, handle the thoughts, or deal
with the physical and emotional distress.
View your fear,
distressing thought, or physical and emotional feelings of distress in a
You are also taught how to use various relaxation techniques, such as
breathing exercises, to deal with emotional and physical distress and fear.
Using relaxation techniques helps you keep a sense of control whenever you
are confronted with the feared object, situation, or distressing thought or