Exposure Therapy - Social Anxiety Forum

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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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Exposure Therapy


Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy intended to treat anxiety disorders and involves the exposure to the feared object or context without any danger in order to overcome their anxiety. Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as PTSD and specific phobias.

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_therapy
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 06:48 PM
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Exposure therapy did nothing for me. My anxiety always just as bad despite being exposed to the fears consistently.

I know the pieces fit cause I watched them fall away
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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 10:14 PM
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same here. I just feel worse.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 08:46 AM
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I never kept it up long enough. Recently started Ancient Greek classes, finding that pretty stressful...and I plan to take up rowing perhaps for a club as well. I don't really know where to take it from there.. I don't know where I'd go without anxiety, I don't think I'd do clubbing lol or public speaking every day of the week. I'd like to be able to talk to strangers I suppose but small talk just intensifies my anxiety, I feel I'm upsetting others not going along with it- I need something stronger to distract me. I rarely see people who really interest me. Philosophy evening classes I've been considering. Pffft, no guarantees I'll find anyone anywhere of any interest at all in this life. I don't want to change myself, I'm fine as I am. "One true human being" wouldn't go amiss.

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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 08:48 AM
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It works for a little while, but I always relapse.
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 10:35 AM
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I think it works, but then you have to keep up the practice. I did a social anxiety group and exposure therapy with Mark Pfeffer in downtown Chicago. His site is Beyond Anxiety dot com. I think he does phone appointments now, too.
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 05:13 PM
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It made me worse, it didn't actually remove any anxiety at all. By exposing myself over and over again it just got worse until I lost all my mental energy. Then I had extreme SA and depression.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-30-2012, 11:56 AM
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exposure therapy seems to lighten the load just a little bit but i still had anxiety and other problems regarding socializing.
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 10:18 AM
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I don't see how this would be a solution for SAD. I've been exposed all my life to situations that make me anxious and it only helps for that specific situation (after many many many exposures). Change one thing and you can start all over. Often it doesn't even work at all, I've ridden the bus many times and it's still very uncomfortable.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 12:33 PM
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CBT + Exposure therapy = anxiety free

I am a believer the the Twelve-step Program.
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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 02:12 PM
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Exposure therapy cured my agor a couple of years ago. It was a Godsend, taking that first step outside my house was really hard, but as I continued venturing out it got easier and easier. It took approx 6 months but I'm not agor anymore. It does nothing for my Social Anxiety tho. The only thing that will cure that is 'not caring about what other people think'.

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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 02:17 PM
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Exposure seems to be going well for me. I don't relapse into avoidance as much as I used to. I really hope I am on the road to being normal.
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billywig View Post
It made me worse, it didn't actually remove any anxiety at all. By exposing myself over and over again it just got worse until I lost all my mental energy. Then I had extreme SA and depression.
If you were looking at where you started on a stress scale from 0-10, I am confident you started too high. You must make a hierarchy and start at the bottom, starting too high will do exactly what you described, make you so distressed you cannot keep it up.

Also, how are you doing the exposure therapy. You must stay until you are significantly distressed but still in control, then you need to take a break, go to the bathroom or leave if possible to return. The key is going back in after the break instead of simply not returning. You must stay for aprox. 45 minutes as well or you will not allow enough time for your body to habituate and calm down. Effectively by leaving early you are making the event be remembered as extremely stressful.

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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 06:32 PM
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 02:59 AM
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Exposure therapy does work.


Exposure therapy really works. It can however be unintentionally limited by a number of thinking and behavioural styles we exhibit.

The objective with exposure is to help you experience your feared situations a number of times until your mind begings to send an "I AM SAFE" signal to your mind's threat protection system (i.e. the system responsible for activating your fight or flight responce).

(Sorry to those who know this stuff already)

The first key here is " practice for a number of times." Not once, not twice, but maybe up to 20- 30 times if need be.

The reason for the repeated practice is embended in the nature of how we learn as humans. The thoughts or actions we repeat the most tend to be easilly assessible to us.

As a result we repeat numbers over and over in order to commit them to memmory. In the same way any behaviour that is repeated over and over becomes a habbit.

Unfortunately our thoughts and behaviour that are connected to situations we fear tend to have been repeated over and over across many months or years. So whenever we come across those fears, we are naturally directed to deal with them in the ineffective way we have always dealth with them.

The problem with this is that Our aprroach to managing our fear tend to reinforce the fears we have by compiling more evidence that we are vulnerabile to those fears in our minds.

So to start to break the chain of anxiety, we have to change our behaviour. If I am avoiding something, There is no way I will find out if that thing is safe without me being around that thing.

Each experience of exposure can be seen as an opportunity to place a chip of evidence (that I am safe)on the other side of the balancing scale, gradually outweighing the evidence (that I am not safe) which has been compiled over the years.

I started this post by talking about the uninteded limitations we can place on exposure. I'll just name a few for now, and maybe expand on them if anyone is interested to know.

1. Self focus. Focussing too much on yourself or on what you are doing stops you from noticing what other people are doing.

2. Looking down or away from people

3. worrying too much about doing the exposure

4. overthinking the exposure after it has been done (especially when there has been too much self focus during the exposure)

5. Practicing any coping strategy whilst doing the exposure disrupts it's effectiveness

Ok I'll stop for now. Hope this was helpful
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post #16 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exrovite View Post
Exposure therapy really works. It can however be unintentionally limited by a number of thinking and behavioural styles we exhibit.

The objective with exposure is to help you experience your feared situations a number of times until your mind begings to send an "I AM SAFE" signal to your mind's threat protection system (i.e. the system responsible for activating your fight or flight responce).

(Sorry to those who know this stuff already)

The first key here is " practice for a number of times." Not once, not twice, but maybe up to 20- 30 times if need be.

The reason for the repeated practice is embended in the nature of how we learn as humans. The thoughts or actions we repeat the most tend to be easilly assessible to us.

As a result we repeat numbers over and over in order to commit them to memmory. In the same way any behaviour that is repeated over and over becomes a habbit.

Unfortunately our thoughts and behaviour that are connected to situations we fear tend to have been repeated over and over across many months or years. So whenever we come across those fears, we are naturally directed to deal with them in the ineffective way we have always dealth with them.

The problem with this is that Our aprroach to managing our fear tend to reinforce the fears we have by compiling more evidence that we are vulnerabile to those fears in our minds.

So to start to break the chain of anxiety, we have to change our behaviour. If I am avoiding something, There is no way I will find out if that thing is safe without me being around that thing.

Each experience of exposure can be seen as an opportunity to place a chip of evidence (that I am safe)on the other side of the balancing scale, gradually outweighing the evidence (that I am not safe) which has been compiled over the years.

I started this post by talking about the uninteded limitations we can place on exposure. I'll just name a few for now, and maybe expand on them if anyone is interested to know.

1. Self focus. Focussing too much on yourself or on what you are doing stops you from noticing what other people are doing.

2. Looking down or away from people

3. worrying too much about doing the exposure

4. overthinking the exposure after it has been done (especially when there has been too much self focus during the exposure)

5. Practicing any coping strategy whilst doing the exposure disrupts it's effectiveness

Ok I'll stop for now. Hope this was helpful
Thanks for the post. It was helpful to me. Lately I have exposed myself more to people. Instead of avoiding social interactions and people I am going out more. Like the gym. Playing basketball and going in the pool there. Over the last 4 days there I had good conversations with about 8-10 people. So far it has gone well. But I remember after leaving the gym I would over analyze everything and think about what I possibly messed up on. Even though everything went fine with my SAD I was still convincing myself that I screwed up. Another thing I have done lately I go to the grocery store and the park more. Just talking to people and being around people. I am going to keep talking to people more at the gym I go to as well. Just start conversations or when they start one with me I will make an effort to keep the conversation going instead of trying to avoid social interaction. Thanks!
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post #17 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 08:40 PM
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It helps me sometimes in my work and sometimes overcome problems that cause anxiety or stress. It can also use it to overcome other issues, such as drugs alcohol addiction of other people as well.
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post #18 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 10:12 AM
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It seems to work up to a certain piont (enough to be "functional"). When I work I get better about wanting to get out, and not thinknig my self out of going or doing something. but once I stop HAVING to make myself go to work or school, i go back to being home all the time and having trouble looking and talking to people.
I think self disapline would help though. sense i could make myself go somewhere like the park everyday and make myself talk to people.
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post #19 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 10:30 AM
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I never really liked it. It's basically just trial and error like you're expected to endure while growing up.

The real key is establishing a sustainable lifestyle where you're comfortable with a personality to present when socializing among others. Otherwise, you're always on edge because you're afraid that people will see through you.

I guess it works better with upper class people who already have this and simply need to get out there. Lower class people need cultural immersion as well for this to work.
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post #20 of 58 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 02:45 PM
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It works to a degee but it's exhausting
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