Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD has created a challenge for mental health professionals over the years. Decades of experimentation with different treatments has shown one particular treatment rising to the top. This therapy is called ERP or Exposure and Response Prevention. ERP is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy based approach and has proved to be effective for all age groups in the treatment of OCD.
How Do You Approach ERP In Therapy?
Exposure means to allow the person to experience the situation that causes them distress. This can be hard and scary but you will have a skilled and experienced psychiatrist to help support you during your treatment. Exposure is done in at least one of three ways, in vivo exposure (live exposure), imaginal exposure, or Virtual Reality Exposure.
In-vivo or live exposure means that the person is actually in the presence of the feared thing or situation. They will be able to touch, smell, hear and see the distressing thing or situation.
Imaginal exposure is done through guided imagery where the person will visualize or think about the distressing thing or situation.
Virtual Reality Exposure
Virtual Reality Exposure is experiencing the distressing thing or situation in a virtual reality environment. This is an emerging tool that may be an option depending on the availability of the person’s particular situation.
Read more about Virtual Reality Therapy.
What Is Ritual Prevention?
Response/Ritual Prevention means to assist the person to not avoid the distressing situation or to act out on the habitual, compulsive or ritual behavior that is used to decrease distress.
Part of therapy will also explore thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that are important components of the person’s experience. This is typically done through a classic Cognitive Behavior Therapy Approach and can be added to ERP.
Does ERP Therapy Work?
Studies have shown that 15-20 sessions of in-person and at-home sessions are typically needed for significant improvement. Intensive treatment programs have daily exposure sessions with a doctor or therapist but twice weekly or weekly sessions with at home exercises between sessions yield similar results.
If you have been frustrated by unresolved OCD symptoms, then consider ERP as a potential treatment to regain control of your thoughts and actions.
The ERP Workbook
Our psychiatrists at The Grove have created a Exposure and Response Prevention Workbook designed to guide patients through this effective therapy. The ERP workbook has over 80 pages and is filled with diagrams and worksheets that have been carefully designed to help our patients understand ERP and apply it therapeutically. We are proud to offer this workbook as a tool to enhance your therapy experience.
We are excited to offer this powerful treatment option at The Grove Comprehensive Psychiatry and Wellness and are currently accepting new patients.