Exposure therapy is nothing revolutionary, but it is now being recognized as an effective method of conquering people’s fears and anxieties. It is now regularly included in a program of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which itself is one of the most useful ways of treating a phobia or anxiety program
There is no doubt that exposure therapy is unpleasant. If someone has a clinical mental condition, it will usually be based around a fear of some sort. This fear can be totally irrational, but it can also be a rational fear of a genuine problem – except the level of fear is higher than is necessary, and is out of proportion with the actual threat. Whatever the reason behind it, when people have a fear of something, they will do all they can to avoid it.
Yet avoidance actually feeds a fear and gives it weapons. Subconsciously, when we avoid something we fear, we are actually building another block of dread. We are relieved to avoid the situation, and when we feel relief at avoiding it, we also feel extra fear for what we have avoided. The feeling of relief reinforcing our mind’s incorrect assumption that something is dangerous.
Exposure therapy removes this element by forcing people to face what it is they fear. It works particularly well with phobias, as well as people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is the epitome of confronting your fear. Yes, doing so is unpleasant and distressing, but with continued exposure therapy you will soon learn there is nothing to fear. Over time, and the help of a mental health professional, any anxiety or mental health condition will improve immeasurably.
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