Sitting With It: Why Exposure Therapy Works
Dr. Tim DiGiacomo, Mountain Valley’s Clinical Director, shares with us why Exposure Therapy is so successful in treating anxiety and OCD.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the most empirically supported and thus the “gold standard” in treating OCD and anxiety disorders. As a whole, ERP involves residents identifying fear and anxiety-producing situations, objects or thoughts. The client then chooses to engage in gradual exposure (the “E” of ERP) to that fear and those things that produce anxiety, avoidance and behaviors. Deliberately and sensitively, these exposures decrease the client’s emotional reactions and they learn new and more functional ways of responding to anxiety.
At Mountain Valley, where we treat anxiety and OCD, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and, specifically, ERP is our primary therapeutic modality. We find that ERP, along with other secondary treatments, allows our young people to safely face the things that cause them anxiety and develop new healthier strategies to overcome these stressors.