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.
Two doctor/brothers, Joel and Ian Gold, have identified symptoms of a mental
illness unique to our times: the Truman Show delusion, named for the 1998 movie
that starred Jim Carrey as a suburbanite whose movements were filmed 24/7 and
broadcast to the world. The two say a handful of individuals are convinced they
are stars of an imaginary reality show.
Though limited, their findings are creating a buzz in the media and the
psychiatric community: Is it possible that reality TV is shaping delusions?
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