Affirming Progress During Exposure

Exposure therapy is considered a standard of treatment for the anxiety disorders. Exposure is where the “rubber hits the road.” You can talk about your anxiety all day, but until you’re faced with the thing you fear, it’s just talk. But what happens when clients try to take on their anxiety and have to pull back or bail out? How do we frame that in order to support progress? The solution lies in affirming one's own attempts. Exposure therapy is a graded process. The process of self-labeling (e.g., "I am a failure," or "I will never recover") is ultimately self-defeating.

Specific Phobia: Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Phobias are about fear. Fear is a basic emotional response to a specific object or situation that involves threat. The word “specific” in the diagnosis of “specific phobia” is intended to convey the discrete nature of the emotional response, being mostly limited to the event, object, place, or situation that evokes the fear. Fear thus suggests an immediate present-moment concrete threat. Fear is right now. In contrast, anxiety is future-oriented and much more nebulous than fear.