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I will be starting exposure therapy sometime in the middle of this week. I first need to discuss my plans with my therapist tomorrow and my group on Tuesday. I am having some trouble deciding what the first exposure exercise to be. I have tentatively decided that I am going to go to a bookstore and sit in plan view with my shirt inside out. I am going to sit there and combat my irrational beliefs until my fear level decreases to about a 40 out of 100 and then leave. I am not sure what to expect. I have never gone out with my clothes out of place like this. I am doubting that I can even get my fear level down far enough to be relatively comfortable. I feel I have a decent grasp on all the CBT concepts and strategies in order to do this but this is going to be the first time I practice them at such a high fear level. Once I feel comfortable with this I will start on making small talk with people and eventually graduate to the point where I can actually make formal presentations in front of others. Has anyone tried exposure therapy and do you think there are benefits from this? I hope I make progress and not ending up worse than I already am. I just got to go for this now as I am 28 and my life is passing me by. At this point, I am willing to do just about anything to get better. Thanks.
 

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Good work going for therapy but wouldn't doing something socially normal and anxiety inducing be more beneficial? I'm not really familiar with exposure therapy so IDK.
 

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unashamed perv
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Good luck! I've not tried doing anything like that deliberately, but I did once go out with my top on inside out by accident. I got dressed in a hurry :blush I was pretty embarrassed when it was pointed out to me (loudly and publicly) but hey, it didn't kill me!
 

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Good work going for therapy but wouldn't doing something socially normal and anxiety inducing be more beneficial? I'm not really familiar with exposure therapy so IDK.
Good point. Why go out and just make an *** of yourself? Everyone feels anxious and afraid about that! It seems like it would be more helpful to practice situations that really help like making a conversation with a stranger or something like that. Let us know how it ends up working for you.
 

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crazy
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Yeah that sounds like a really stressful exposure task - maybe you could come up with a more gradual exposure hierarchy - if you take on too much too soon it can actually make you feel worse.

Just the thought of wearing a shirt inside out makes me cringe - embarassment is something hardwired into us, I don't think you can turn it off. Nor should you really, or you'd be going out in pajamas and a bathrobe, lol.
 

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I would start with something that you are more likely to be successful with. Each person is different in where they are starting from, but when you make comments like "such a high fear level" it seams that you taking on something that is to difficult at this time. Think of things that push you outside of your comfort zone, but not to far. Do you feel comfortable just being in a store without bring attention to yourself?? Maybe just being in the store is enough to start with or asking someone for the time or directions?? Don't feel like you have to everything "by the book", use it as a framework to find what works best for you.
 

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Interesting. The shirt thing though - is the idea to make you feel more uncomfortable? Or is it a conversation initiator? Myself, I'm a terrible liar, so I would have a tough time acting naturally, knowing that my shirt was inside-out. I'd probably be glancing around to see if anybody is noticing, and if somebody did talk to me, I don't think I could help grinning sheepishly.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

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I am having some trouble deciding what the first exposure exercise to be. I have tentatively decided that I am going to go to a bookstore and sit in plan view with my shirt inside out. I am going to sit there and combat my irrational beliefs until my fear level decreases to about a 40 out of 100 and then leave. I am not sure what to expect. I have never gone out with my clothes out of place like this.
That sounds more like Albert Ellis's Shame Attacking Exercise. You do something that you think is very embarrassing many times. This is done to prove to yourself that just because you do something stupid, doesn't mean you are stupid. Just because you make a mistake, doesn't mean you are an idiot. Little by little, you start to only feel embarrassed but not shameful or mortified after these exercises. To sum up, shame attacking exercises help you to gain unconditional self-acceptance.

Has anyone tried exposure therapy and do you think there are benefits from this?
Yes, I have done some exposures though only recently. It's best done with a specific goal in mind. For instance, my goal is to get a job as a general office clerk. Thus, my sub-goal is to attend to several job interviews. This will lead me to call to several companies and org.s to inquire if there are any job openings. It would also lead me to answer job ads, apply for job agencies, and perhaps volunteering to increase my network.

You don't have to focus on just one goal though. You can have a few other goals as well. Also, remember that disputing your cognitive distortions or irrational beliefs is highly recommended along with the exposures.
 
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