Exposure Therapy and CBT

Exposure Therapy is a therapy technique that was first used in behavioral therapy.  Exposure therapy targets exposing the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger to patient. 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 estimated range is from 60% to 90% of treatment ends up with success.


Fear means an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.

Is fear only seen in man? Do animals get 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.

exposure therapy and cbt 1

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 overcome these fears using Exposure Therapy techniques.

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


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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.

The first experience can only be that the client imagines the object he / she is afraid of. 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.

Last Updated on March 30, 2020 by Marilyn Walker

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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