OCD and Anxiety Basics

What Is Exposure and Response Prevention?

April 18, 2023

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As someone who has experienced the distressing symptoms of OCD, I understand how overwhelming and debilitating it can be to feel trapped in a cycle of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. However, there are effective treatments available that can help manage and even overcome OCD symptoms, and one of the most effective treatments is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

What is ERP?

ERP is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves exposing yourself to anxiety-provoking situations or triggers while simultaneously resisting the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors or rituals. This is done under the guidance of a trained therapist and in a controlled environment, so you can learn to tolerate the discomfort and anxiety that comes with resisting compulsions.

The importance of ritual prevention and ERP

One of the key components of ERP is ritual prevention. This means actively resisting the urge to engage in compulsive behaviors or rituals, even when you feel intense anxiety or distress. This is important because engaging in compulsive behaviors only reinforces the cycle of anxiety and obsessions.

Ritual prevention is not easy. In fact, it can be incredibly challenging and uncomfortable, especially at first. However, the more you resist compulsive behaviors, the more you weaken the association between anxiety and the need to engage in compulsions. This can help reduce the intensity and frequency of obsessions and compulsions over time.

Be patient with the process and with yourself

It’s important to note that ERP is not a quick fix, and it requires commitment and patience. The process of exposing yourself to anxiety-provoking situations can be difficult and uncomfortable. But it’s important to remember that this is a necessary step towards overcoming OCD symptoms.

Work with a therapist if you can

It’s important to work with a trained therapist who can guide you through the ERP process and provide support and guidance as needed. They can help you identify triggers, develop coping strategies, and provide feedback on your progress.

I know that finding access to a therapist who can guide you through ERP can be difficult and expensive. If you are looking to learn more about ERP and what you can expect, check out my masterclass on ERP basics.

You can do this, I’m sure of it

If you’re struggling with OCD, know that there is help available. ERP is a highly effective treatment that can help manage and even overcome OCD symptoms. By resisting compulsive behaviors you can learn to live a full and empowered life, free from the constraints of OCD.

I’m rooting for you SO DANG HARD.


This post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as mental health or medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional advice of your own professional mental health or medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical or mental health professional before trying or implementing any information read here.

© 2023 Jenna Overbaugh, LLC

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