Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy. It reduces the physical or emotional distress you
feel when confronted with a particular object, situation, or distressing
thought or memory. During this type of counselling, you may relive a
traumatic experience, confront a feared object or situation, or deal with a
distressing thought. But you do it while in a controlled environment.
During this type of therapy, a counsellor helps you while you remember
or use your mind to see the feared object or distressing thought. The counsellor also helps
you work through the physical and emotional distress that you may feel during
this experience. You confront and learn to cope with the distressing feelings
gradually. And this reduces your symptoms.
Activities during exposure therapy vary, depending on the fear,
distressing thought, or traumatic experience.
virtual reality are sometimes used. Often during
this type of therapy, you are encouraged to:
Talk about your fears, thoughts, or feelings of
Learn ways to face the fear, handle the thoughts, or deal
with the physical and emotional distress.
View your fear,
distressing thought, or physical and emotional feelings of distress in a
You are also taught how to use various relaxation techniques, such as
breathing exercises. They help you deal with emotional and physical distress and fear.
Using these techniques helps you keep a sense of control when you
are confronted with the feared object, situation, or distressing thought or
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health