Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Exposure and Response Prevention has for years been scientifically proven and researched to reaffirm that the only way around fear is through fear.
OCD thoughts have tremendous fear associated with them and the only way to overcome that fear is by facing that fear.
This exposure can be done in a variety of ways, one being “in vivo” which is “in life” exposure to the very thing that the person is fearful of such as a certain location, circumstance, image, individual or thought.
One very important point to always keep in mind is that this exposure must be done gradually and over often extended periods of time. Also, before any of this work is initiated one must itemize all their anxiety-provoking situations on a list and attach what we call a Subjective Units of Distress Scale [SUDS] which refers to the amount of anxiety associated with each situation one on a scale of zero to one hundred.
Once one has listed all the anxiety-provoking items on a page it is highly highly recommended they start with the Least anxiety-provoking item and work on that on a regular basis.
When is one able to know if it’s effective in reducing their anxiety and when they can move forward to the next item on the list? The best gage is by their own ability. By identifying their anxiety with the particular item they’ve been working on to have dropped by a minimum of 50% of the original start anxiety for that particular item? , they then can add the next item on their list. It doesn’t mean they necessarily have to stop exposing themselves to the first fear but they can add in addition to what they’re already doing the next item on their list.
In order to set people up to succeed the exposure must be gradual and productive. It’s not a race but rather a Journey.
Please refer to an example insert out of my own personal journey on a list of all the items associated with a hit and run OCD items below.
Later in my blogs, I will show you my actual in vivo exposure and the outcome of my exposure daily journal
Next blog we will talk about the Second half of ERP being Response Prevention