Anxiety Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

17. How is exposure-based treatment used?

Exposure-based treatment has been used for many years to treat specific phobias. The person gradually encounters the object or situation that is feared, perhaps at first only through pictures or tapes, then later face-to-face. Sometimes the therapist will accompany the person to a feared situation to provide support and guidance. Exposure exercises are undertaken once the patient decides he is ready for it and with his cooperation.

To be effective, therapy must be directed at the person’s specific anxieties and must be tailored to his or her needs. A typical “side effect” is temporary discomfort involved with thinking about confronting feared situations.