Our partner

Exposure Therapy for PTSD

Exposure therapy message board, open discussion, and online support group.

Exposure Therapy for PTSD

Postby Butterfly Faerie » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:43 pm

This article is about using exposure therapy for those suffering with PTSD but it's basically the same technique for anxiety etc.

Exposure therapy is considered a behavioral treatment for PTSD. This is because exposure therapy targets learned behaviors that people engage in (most often the avoidance of situations) in response to situations or thoughts and memories that are viewed as frightening or anxiety-provoking. For example, a rape survivor may begin to avoid relationships or going out on dates for fear that she will be attacked again.

It is important to recognize that this learned avoidance serves a purpose. When a person experiences a traumatic event, a person may begin to act in ways to avoid threatening situations with the goal of trying to prevent that traumatic experience from happening again. In many ways, this avoidance is a safety-seeking or protective response. However, as this avoidance behavior becomes more extreme, a person's quality of life may lessen. They may lose touch with family or experience difficulties at work or in relationships.

In addition, avoidance can make PTSD symptoms stick around longer or even intensify. That is, because a person is avoiding certain situations, thoughts, or emotions, they don't have the opportunity to learn that these situations may not be quite as threatening as they seem. In addition, by avoiding thoughts, memories, and emotions, a person doesn't allow himself to fully process those experiences.

The goal of exposure therapy then is to help reduce a person's fear and anxiety, with the ultimate goal of eliminating avoidance behavior and increasing quality of life. This is done by actively confronting the things that a person fears. By confronting feared situations, thoughts, and emotions, a person can learn that anxiety and fear will lessen on their own.

So, how does a person actively confront feared situations, thoughts, and emotions during exposure therapy? A number of methods that may be used by a therapist. These are described below.


In Vivo Exposure


In vivo exposure refers to the direct confrontation of feared objects, activities, or situations by a person under the guidance of a therapist. For example, a woman with PTSD who fears the location where she was assaulted may be assisted by her therapist in going to that location and directly confronting those fears (as long as it is safe to do so).


Imaginal Exposure


Imaginal exposure can help a person directly confront feared thoughts and memories. Imaginal exposure may also be used when it is not possible or safe for a person to directly confront a feared situation. For example, it would not be safe to have a combat veteran with PTSD directly confront a combat situation again. Therefore, he may be asked to imagine a feared combat situation that he experienced.


Interoceptive Exposure


Interoceptive exposure was originally designed to treat panic disorder. However, there is evidence that it may be successful in the treatment of PTSD as well. It is designed to help people directly confront feared bodily symptoms often associated with anxiety, such as an increased heart rate and shortness of breath. The therapist may assist this by having a person (in a controlled and safe manner) hyperventilate for a brief period of time, exercise, breath through a straw, or hold his breath.

Finding a Therapist Who Does Exposure Therapy


As indicated previously, exposure therapy has been found to be an effective treatment for PTSD. In addition, methods for delivering exposure therapy to people is continuing to advance. In particular, some therapists are beginning to use virtual reality technology to help people confront the things they fear most.

Yet, it is important to recognize that some people are hesitant to go through exposure therapy because it might sound scary to confront fears. Exposure therapy is like any other treatment for PTSD. It requires a tremendous commitment and can be difficult at times. A major part of most treatments for PTSD is confronting and connecting with feared situations, thoughts, and feelings. The way in which this is done in each treatment simply differ.


It is important to find the right treatment and therapist for you.


Website: http://ptsd.about.com/od/treatment/a/ExposureTxPTSD.htm
Butterfly Faerie
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 9239
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 3:25 pm
Local time: Wed May 12, 2021 4:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: Exposure Therapy for PTSD

Postby home-alone » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:19 pm

You mention Exposure Therapy for the treatment of PTSD including rape victims.
I don't understand. Are you inferring forcing exposure to intimate relations? How would this work for a person molested by his mother as a child who develops fear of females in later years?
Thanx; Home Alone
home-alone
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:02 pm
Local time: Wed May 12, 2021 2:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Exposure Therapy for PTSD

Postby remusmdh » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:33 am

home-alone wrote:You mention Exposure Therapy for the treatment of PTSD including rape victims.
I don't understand. Are you inferring forcing exposure to intimate relations? How would this work for a person molested by his mother as a child who develops fear of females in later years?
Thanx; Home Alone


First off, let me say I have had nothing but bad experiences with BAD exposure therapy therapists. Like the original post in this thread ended with, find a therapist and technique you trust.

Second, some forms of therapy are not made to deal with certain forms of problems within the area they are specialized for. For instance, you do not use exposure therapy to deal with child abuse or rape. But you WOULD use it to help the adult to be intimate with their current lover whom they are having problems with due to that child abuse/rape.

Third, though I have not had a positive exposure therapy for my PTSD, I have helped others DO THEIRS when a therapist was butt useless in enacting therapy but had sound theory behind a suggestion they blindly offered as a drive-by therapist.

Fourth, I've met people who had positive experiences with exposure therapy. So it isn't all BS and trolls getting paid well to be mean or insincere, lol.
remusmdh
Consumer 5
Consumer 5
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:02 am
Local time: Wed May 12, 2021 2:32 am
Blog: View Blog (1)


Return to Exposure Therapy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest