We will talk about the exposure therapy, which is the base of the treatment of anxiety disorders and cognitive behavioral therapy. During the exposure therapy patients will be exposed to their fears and in this way, they will be able to overcome them. So if you have an OCD client who cannot touch door handles without washing them first, he will have to do exactly this, to touch them and do that without the washing. Also, this would suggest that a person with pure OCD should think about being a murderer or a pedophile.
If a person with body dysmorphic disorder undergoes this therapy, he will have to go to a restaurant without the hat used to conceal the disfigurement. Panic disorder patients will take a ride in the plane, for instance. Those with social anxiety will have to strike a conversation in the mall or somewhere else. Exposure therapy is very common way of treatment when we talk about the OCD and other anxiety problems. When patients hear what this therapy involves, most of them gets scared and rethink this strategy. Most do not see meaning of this way of treatment.
ut there is a meaning and reason and we will see which. The basic principle behind this therapy is that we fear of something we are not accustomed to. So if we get familiar with it and see it from the first hand, we will fear it less and less and at the end, we will not fear it at all. If you, for example, are afraid of a dog, you have probably always stayed clear of them. But if you get to know this dog and are exposed to it on regular basis, the fear will disappear and you will get accustomed to the dog being around.
The thing that the persons with the OCD realize once they enroll in this therapy is that nothing will happen if they talk to a stranger, ride an airplane or do something else. Also, the usual avoidance and compulsive behavioral leads to the anxiety, but the anxiety will not occur if these behaviors are not conducted. The anxiety will be felt in the starting few minutes, but it will eventually go away. A person with the body dysmorphic disorder will feel anxiety once he steps out from the house without a hat, but the anxiety will diminish over time.
There is a chance that the dog will bite you or that you get sick from touching the dirty doorknob, but during the exposure therapy patients realize that this is not so scary and that they will not die because of it. They are not catastrophic but they are negative and undesirable for sure. The last benefit from this therapy is maybe the crucial one. They realize that the anxieties avoided in the past can be tolerated. Patients spend their entire lives avoiding these anxieties, and once they come face to face with them, they realize that they can be controlled and endured. The anxieties are troubling but they are far from being intolerable and patients learn this through exposure therapy.