Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy is a combination of CBT & Exposure Therapy to help those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The exposure component of ERP refers to practicing confronting the thoughts, images, objects, and situations that make you anxious and/or provoke your obsessions. The response prevention part of ERP, involves making a choice not to engage in a compulsive behavior once “triggered.” Over time, the treatment will “retrain your brain” to no longer see the object of the obsession as a threat.
Think of anxiety as your body’s alarm system. Think about the story “The boy who cried wolf.” At first everyone reacted, but over time this stopped since there was no reason to be alarmed. That’s what happens in OCD.
ERP therapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment for OCD, but it has been found to be more effective when combined with Eye Movement Desensitization and Restructuring (EMDR). Results of studies have shown that the combination of both methods can reduce OCD symptoms in the long term and reduces the dropout rate and creates higher motivation in patients.