Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a form of CBT, and is aimed at maladaptive, excessive, or unreasonable anxiety. That is, for example, someone with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) will touch a doorknob, and they’ll think, “Oh, if I touch this doorknob, I might get a disease like HIV.” So again, the anxiety is out of proportion to the actual experience.

The intention in exposure therapy is to get your brain to signal you in a more accurate way. In an anxiety disorder, your anxiety system is giving you misinformation. It’s giving you information that you’re in danger when you’re,in fact, not in danger.

So exposure therapy — the idea is that we have you systematically confront your fears: go into those situations that are causing you anxiety. The idea is that you don’t leave that situation and you don’t do anything to protect yourself. It’s a very difficult treatment because your anxiety actually feels like it’s increasing in the moment, and it is increasing in the moment.

As that bad thing doesn’t happen, the feared consequence doesn’t happen, your brain starts to learn something new — “Oh, bad things don’t happen in the situation the way that I thought” — and your anxiety naturally starts to come down on its own. And that’s what we think is helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

So with repeated exposures to those kinds of situations — where you go into the situation, you don’t escape, you don’t protect yourself — your anxiety will go down on its own, and you’ll have less anxiety in future similar situations.

Recent Posts

Are You a Victim of Domestic Violence?

If one in every four women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, it is safe to assume that we all know of someone who has been affected.  Statistics (based on studies) regarding domestic violence are staggering.

Domestic violence can rob the victim of his/her identity, freedom, and self-esteem (self-worth, self-image, self-respect) and can crush the spirit.  It not only has an impact on the victim, it affects the children and other loved ones in the victim’s life.  But, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.  The good news is.……if one becomes aware of the signs and discovers soon enough that he/she is a victim of domestic violence, and takes necessary action, there is a way out, hope for the future and a way to begin a new life.   

Many people aren’t sure what constitutes ‘domestic violence’ so they don’t know if they are victims of it.  The first step to ending this devastating epidemic is to be cognizant of the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence.  Awareness can turn into a solution.  The following are signs to help you determine whether or not you are a victim:


Warning Signs

  • A partner who puts their significant other down and says hurtful things
  • A partner who discourages one from having any close relationships with family or    friends
  • A partner who places blame and guilt  for their own mistakes
  • A partner who makes all the decisions in the relationship
  •  A partner who acts very jealous
  •  A partner who makes one feel worthless and helpless
  • A partner who throws objects
  • A partner who physically assaults, such as slapping, kicking, etc.
  • A partner who forbids independent activities such as work or school
  • A partner who physically abuses the pets or children when angry at other things
  • A partner who controls access to money, medication, or necessities
  •     A partner who demands sex or sexual activities that one does not feel comfortable with or agree to
  • A partner who sees one as an object
  • A partner who is constantly ‘checking up’

Symptoms

  • Physical signs such as bruises on the arms, wrist, or face
  • Attempting to cover up bruises with makeup or clothing
  • Being extremely apologetic or meek
  • Making up stories and excuses about clumsiness and being accident-prone, rather than telling the truth
  • Being very isolated from family and friends
  • Having very low self-esteem
  • Showing symptoms of depression
  • Having limited money, access to the phone or car, etc.
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol
  •  Exhibiting the warning signs of suicide


If you have been walking on eggshells, experiencing ongoing fear and abuse, identify yourself as a victim, are ready for a positive change, and interested in seeking counseling to help you get through this most difficult, fearful and lonely time of your life, I am here for you. You are not alone. Together, we can get through this and create a life of independence, healthy self-esteem, a sense of empowerment, and feeling safe, so you can move forward into the life you really want for yourself and your family.  I can help you transition from “victim” to “victor” status, and create the life you want.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out for help immediately.  Colorado Crisis Line:  888-885-1222, National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233.     

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