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Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD

You can learn and practice methods to help move through and past intrusive, anxiety provoking thoughts from a healthy, empowering stance.

Light On Anxiety offers Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy as an action-oriented treatment approach to OCD, intrusive or ego-dystonic thoughts, and other anxiety-related conditions. ERP for OCD involves gradually making contact with scary thoughts and training the brain to disengage from compulsions associated with those thoughts with the guidance of a wonderful LOA therapist.

What Are Intrusive, Obsessional Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts, by definition, intrude upon your thinking, are startling and interrupt your current moment.

Often intrusive thoughts can show up in an attention grabbing, shocking form such as when they represent an ego dystonic concept.

An ego dystonic thought is in conflict with your values and life goals.

For example, if you are a teacher who strives to make the world better, through one meaningful educational interaction with a student at a time, and you may have the intrusive thought, “What if I lose control and stab my students?”. This would be an intrusive, ego dystonic thought because it is shockingly attention grabbing and is in direct conflict with who you are and how you choose to live your live.

OCD is desperate to grab you attention because it is terrified something bad will happen if you don’t stay alert and engage in certain behaviors (compulsions) to prevent the most awful, catastrophic event from occurring.  What OCD does not understand is that no matter how much it wants to protect you and maintain control, some times, no matter how hard we try to be careful, safe and good, bad things will still happen. 

Learning how to train your brain so you can live the life you want for yourself

Freedom from OCD entails teaching your brain it must give up the illusion of control it gets every time it engages in a compulsion and instead inject as much of your energy as possible into living a life that matters to YOU.  We will help you to live your best life, even if occasional scary thoughts and feelings come along for the ride. After all, a life well-lived is not measured in terms of what you think but instead in what you choose to do with the moments of your life.   

Core Treatment Elements of Light On Anxiety’s ERP Based Treatment for OCD & Ego Dystonic Thoughts

Success Stories

Do you frequently experience intrusive thoughts and anxiety?

Have you tried therapy in the past to address these symptoms and have not been satisfied with the progress you have made?

ERP-based treatment​

Types of Exposure Techniques

There are many different exposure techniques in ERP for helping manage and treating intrusive thoughts and OCD. Together, we can find the right treatment plan for you.

Visual Exposure

Reading or writing trigger words and stories associated with intrusive thoughts (ITs) or watching a video clip associated with an IT repeatedly for at least 2 minutes.

Auditory Exposure

Saying trigger words out loud repeatedly for at least 2 minutes. Create an audio file of a “scary story” associated with an IT, then listen to it on repeat for at least 2 minutes.

Proprioceptive Exposures

Engaging in a physical motion associated with an IT repeatedly for at least 2 minutes, or until anxiety level drops by half or more.

In Vivo Exposures

Exposing yourself to any situation or environment you are currently avoiding for fear it will bring on the IT, or that you will lose control and engage in feared behavior and spend time in that environment (without engaging in any safety behaviors or compulsions) until anxiety level drops by at least half.

Interoceptive Exposures

Interoceptive exposures bring on the sensations associated with feeling anxious to train your brain that the feelings of anxiety are uncomfortable but not dangerous (e.g. breathing through a straw to simulate the sensation of having trouble breathing). Your brain can learn it may not like feeling anxious and out of control, but it can handle these sensations.

Chat with a therapist to start ERP therapy for OCD and intrusive thoughts.

dr kissen book intrusive thoughts

Break Free From Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are disturbing thoughts or images that appear out of nowhere and make it hard to go about your day, especially in tandem with other anxiety disorders. Break Free from Intrusive Thoughts is a sensitive, modern guide to developing a more accepting relationship with them so you can stop them from holding you back.

In this book you’ll learn how to manage and move past intrusive thoughts

  • The truth about intrusive thoughts―Learn what intrusive thoughts are, what causes them, and what they really mean.
  • Different recovery techniques―Explore a range of therapy techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness.
  • Hands-on healing―Get unstuck from unhelpful thinking patterns through exercises like writing out your fears and labeling your emotions, so you can accept your intrusive thoughts and let them pass.
  • Learn how to call a truce with your intrusive thoughts and get back to your life
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Resources for Ego Dystonic Thoughts & Harm OCD Light On Anxiety articles


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Sometimes I have moments where OCD tries to bring me down, but thankfully with my therapist I have the tools to manage it and know that recovery will continue to progress if I keep doing what I need to do to make OCD weaker.

— LOA Client

Break free from intrusive, ego-dystonic thoughts and in the process learn how to live your best life.

Book a time at a Light On Anxiety location or schedule a virtual session.

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