What is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP?)
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is one of the most effective cognitive-behavioural therapy methods and a frontline treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders. The Exposure in ERP refers to exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, objects, and situations that cause anxiety or induce your obsessive behaviours. The Response Prevention component of ERP refers to engaging in a different, more helpful behavior, once the anxiety or obsession have been “triggered”. The techniques used in ERP are extremely effective. Research has shown a significant reduction of psychological distress in 50-80% of clients with OCD or anxiety after approximately attending 20 cognitive-behavioural sessions. Moreover, the benefits of ERP are long-lasting, many clients’ symptoms do not return after treatment is completed.
Typically, our ERP and CBT services are covered under your health insurance plan or work benefits package under "Psychological Services” or “Psychotherapeutic Services”. As a client in our practice, our team at Mind + Zest are passionate to help you resolve your issues in a professional, non-judgemental, and safe environment.
What Issues does ERP treat?
ERP is typically used simultaneously with CBT to treat anxiety-related disorders such as phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety.
ERP differs slightly from other types of counselling or psychotherapy styles because it is action-based. Typically, your CBT and ERP therapist will collaborate with you on engaging in eye-opening exercises during sessions and will ask you to complete homework during the week and in-between sessions.
Although ERP can be challenging, it is also eye-opening, fun, and very beneficial. A great deal of commitment is frequently required but most clients undergoing ERP see significant, positive changes in their lives.
What are the Benefits of ERP Therapy?
Although Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can be challenging, it offers clients many psychological, emotional, and health benefits. ERP aims to:
- Help us feel more comfortable in situations that once induced anxiety;
- Handle anxiety-provoking situations with ease and effortlessness;
- Understand the root of our fears and worries;
- Identify people, events, and situations in our lives that have reinforced these anxieties;
- Develop new, functional, and healthy cognitions which will provide insight and skills to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Important Things to Know before starting ERP:
CBT is not a quick fix. A psychotherapist is similar to a personal trainer who advises and encourages their clients - but cannot 'do' the work for you.
To overcome anxiety, we need to confront the source of worry head on. This may lead you to feel even more anxious for a short amount of time. You may feel overwhelmed, but this is all part of the process.
ERP and CBT deliver the most beneficial results when they are completed in a rigorous, committed, and wholehearted way. Attending weekly sessions are an essential component of CBT. We typically recommend an 8-week, 12-week, or 16-week program to begin your therapeutic journey with CBT after you complete your 15-minute intake session.
Research has demonstrated that one of the most important predictors of obtaining success in therapy and counselling is the relationship between you and your therapist. At Mind + Zest, we take this research to heart. Our counselors will collaborate with you to develop a therapeutic plan that is tailored to your strengths, goals, and desired areas of change. Typically, most clients will have a sense of when their counselling goals have been reached. This sense of success typically emerges when you have overcome significant issues in your life and notice new feelings and changes in your behaviours. You may notice an increase in energy, mood, enthusiasm, motivation, general well-being, and interest, and you will gain the confidence to tackle new challenges on your own.
Successful counselling also depends on sustaining contact and momentum with your counselor. By regularly attending sessions, progression and healing is attained more quickly than when sessions are spread far apart or occur irregularly. Most of our clients find weekly sessions the most productive, while some individuals find bi-weekly or twice-a-week sessions as most effective.
If you or someone you know is struggling, don't hesitate to reach out. The Mind + Zest team here to help. Click below and get connected to a therapist as quickly as today!