OCD Cognitive Behaviour Therapy & Exposure Response Prevention

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What CBT & ERP is and How They Are Used in Today’s Health Field to Treat OCD

CBT and ERP are two different treatment options available to treat OCD. CBT is short for cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy is a talking therapy that aims to solve problems by focusing on identifying the thoughts, emotions and habits that lead to a person repeating the same pattern that leads to the problem.

ERP is short for exposure and response prevention. This is a treatment method that has the subject confronting their fears. It also identifies the thinking process and emotional patterns used that leads to the subject repeating a habit. It then attempts to get the person to respond differently to the way he or she used to respond by refraining from the previous behavior.

Both therapy methods are used to treat OCD. It all begins with cognitive behavior therapy. The therapist will talk to the patient. The focus will not be on the events of the past but rather more on the current problems. The goal here is to learn about the patient and even develop a relationship with the patient.

Trust is very important to the treatment process as patients need to have confidence and feel comfortable about the treatment process. After some trust has been established, the therapist will give the patient advice on how to think as well as suggestions on how to deal with their OCD.

An example is helping patients understand that they can make their own choices. Rather than submit to OCD, they can strengthen their ability to make a decision with beliefs such as “I washed my hands because of my anxiety.” This allows patients to see that they have options rather than succumbing to the thought process of something like “I have to wash my hands.”

The next step is the exposure and responsive prevention therapy. The patient will have to face their OCD over and over again. For example, if the patient has the compulsion to wash his hands repeatedly, he should just go ahead and do it. Over time, the patient will have to refrain from repeating the habit while being in the state of anxiety.

This process repeats so that the patient practices how to refrain from the compulsive habit. What this does is that it gives the patient confidence and practice in withholding from the habit. With the therapist’s help, the patient will be able to get rid of the anxiety that causes him to going through with the compulsive action.

So that is an overview on how cognitive behavior therapy and exposure and responsive prevention are used to treat OCD today. These two treatment options are proving to be effective and the success rate is quite high. These two treatments work best when they are used together. The exposure and responsive prevention therapy in particular really helps solidify positive habits and get rid of the anxiety that causes the obsessive and compulsive behavior.

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