Exposure Therapy and CBT

Exposure Therapy is a therapy technique that was first used in behavioral therapy.  Exposure therapy involves exposing the target patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Doing so is thought to help them overcome their anxiety or distress. (wiki)

Q: How effective is CBT or Exposure Therapy? What are its “success rates”?
A: CBT and Exposure Therapy are considered the most effective treatments for anxiety
disorders. Most national guidelines and treatment recommendation guidelines consider
Exposure Therapy and CBT to be first-line treatments of choice. Success rates for
treatments of mental illnesses are difficult to gauge because of different definitions of
“success,” however most estimates range from 60% to 90% of treatment completers either
no remaining symptoms or “sub-clinical symptoms” (meaning if the anxiety were this mild
in the first place, the individual probably would not have needed treatment).


When fear is expressed in the meaning of the dictionary, the anxiety about the idea of a danger or danger is a state of sadness.

Is fear only seen in man? Are the animals scared?
The answer to these questions is revealed by psychiatric experiments. In experiments on mice, the fear exposure experiment is similar to Exposure Therapy.

Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse.


In some cases it can be very difficult to cope with existing fear. These fears can completely reduce our quality of life. It is important to struggle with these fears and to get professional help to get rid of these fears.

The therapist may try to destroy these fears using Exposure Therapy techniques.

In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.


In the exposure therapy, the client confronts the object of fear in a safe environment. In time, it is aimed to become desensitized towards the fear of this object.

Exposure is carried out in a certain hierarchy. The first experience can only be that the client imagines the object he / she is afraid of. The basic steps can be taken to bring the eye to the eye or to meet with the picture. In recent years there have been exposure therapies adapted to virtual reality environments.

Exposure therapy has been scientifically demonstrated to be a helpful treatment or treatment component for a range of problems, including: (wiki)

  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There are several variations of exposure therapy.  These include:

1-In vivo exposure
2-Imaginal exposure
3-Virtual reality exposure
4-Interoceptive exposure
5-Graded exposure
7-Systematic desensitization
11-Emotional processing

With CBT, you can apply this application with different techniques. It is often possible to apply these techniques to yourself.

This video features a girl with dog phobia. Exposure therapy is used to reduce his anxiety.

Updated: 08/01/2019

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