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  • Writer's pictureRachel at Epiphany Center

I Have OCD But I am Scared of Exposure Therapy!

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

by Rachel Tombaugh

Although Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) is the gold-standard treatment approach for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), many sufferers of OCD feel much hesitation about seeking care from an ERP therapist. Despite a tremendous body of evidence of ERP's efficacy in treating OCD, this approach struggles with a bit of a reputation problem that can cause prospective clients to feel understandably nervous about seeking care. Some television and online portrayals of ERP sessions can create a sense that this approach amounts to little more than a tortuous experience of facing extreme manifestations of one's fears and that participants will be forced into situations they are unprepared to face as a means of overcoming their OCD.

At the Epiphany Center, your therapist will work to develop a trusting and caring rapport with you, help you understand the nature of OCD and how the condition is functionally maintained, and to create a collaborative plan to support you in regaining a sense of empowerment over your life and your condition.

While some practitioners may employ techniques of this nature, the vast majority of ERP therapists are dedicated to helping their clients regain a sense of confidence and mastery in their lives. At the Epiphany Center, your therapist will work to develop a trusting and caring rapport with you, help you understand the nature of OCD and how the condition is functionally maintained, and to create a collaborative plan to support you in regaining a sense of empowerment over your life and your condition. Exposure exercises will be discussed and agreed upon in advance and your therapist will protect your trust by not forcing or springing exposure exercises upon you. Due to the fact that OCD robs people of their sense of autonomy, it is essential that the healing process restore autonomy and help to rebuild a sense of trust in yourself, others, and the world around you.


If fears about ERP are preventing you from seeking care, a wonderful and courageous first step can be to schedule an initial consultation and to talk openly about your fears and concerns with your prospective therapist. Building a warm rapport and learning about the exciting journey that ERP can offer you can help you to feel comfortable and hopeful in taking the next step.


©2022 Epiphany Center for OCD and PTSD LLC

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