As humans we all have fears. There are things consciously and unconsciously that can scare us. Our experiences, coupled with our thoughts, can bring out the fear. We may have real or imagined fears. As Halloween approaches, as I see the word “boo” and different ghosts and goblins all around, I cannot help but think about fears and the feeling of being scared. As a therapist I began to make the connection of overcoming fears and phobias. Maybe you are thinking about what can be done with the feeling of fear. This can be done with the work of exposure therapy.
I found this article online from the American Psychological Association that explains in depth what exposure therapy is, disorders it can treat, and the different types of exposures defined. Although the topic and holiday of Halloween triggered the thought of this topic for me, phobias, anxiety, OCD and PTSD are mental health disorders that can be treated by clinicians who have experience with exposure therapy. If you or someone you know experiences any fears or phobias that are impacting your life and functioning, please seek help from a professional and understand the treatment of exposure therapy to help you reduce your fears. Below is the article I found discussing exposure therapy.
“Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that was developed to help people confront their fears. When people are fearful of an identified target, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse. In such situations, a psychologist might recommend a program of exposure therapy in order to help break the pattern of avoidance and fear. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.”
Exposure therapy has demonstrated to be a helpful treatment or treatment component for: Phobias, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
There are several variations of exposure therapy. Your psychologist can help you determine which strategy is best for you.
So don’t just suffer wit these fears, there is help.
Katrina Kutz, LCPC, ATR