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Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is considered the “gold standard” for treating OCD. Studies estimate that more than 85% of patients experience significant symptom reduction after a course of this type of treatment.

The exposure component of ERP refers to practicing confronting the thoughts, doubts, images, objects, sensations, urges, and situations that make you anxious and/or provoke your obsessions. The response prevention part of ERP refers to making a choice not to do a compulsive behavior once the anxiety or obsessions have been “triggered.” Over time, the treatment will “retrain your brain” to no longer see the object of the obsession as a threat.

This strategy of purposefully exposing yourself to things that make you anxious may not sound quite right to you. Maybe it sounds difficult. 

If you have OCD, you have probably tried to confront your obsessions and anxiety only to see that you become very anxious and fearful. 

With ERP, the difference is that a trained clinician is working with you to develop a plan for exposure. 

We will coach you through confronting the situation, leaning into the feelings it provokes, sticking with it, and resisting the urge to engage in compulsive behavior.

The treatment helps free you from the endless loop caused by the cycle of OCD, breaking the grip of fear.