I use Exposure Therapy (ERP) to treat OCD and Anxiety-Related Disorders because it works. Years of clinical research point to ERP as the most effective treatment available for these disorders, so that is what I usually recommend as part of the treatment plan. Every client is unique, however, so I will also consider and recommend other evidence-based treatments if I think they will be more likely to be helpful for you. As always, we will work together to create a treatment plan that takes into account your presenting problems, your goals, my assessment, and the current research findings. Most of my clients appreciate collaborating on the treatment plan and being fully informed of their choices when it comes to treatment options, and I want to help you feel educated and comfortable with the plan that we put together for you.
During our first session, I will want to hear from you about what you are looking for help for, and what you would like to achieve from therapy. I will be starting the process of getting to know you, and beginning to see if I believe that I can be helpful. I will want to learn about your main concerns, and I will want to get some history, too. At the end of the first session, I will give you my initial impressions, and you can then let me know if you feel comfortable working with me, and are interested in my recommendations. If it does not seem like a good fit, I will do my best to refer you to someone who is a better fit. If it seems like a good fit, we will schedule a follow-up visit, usually for the following week.
Exposure therapy, and CBT in general, is an active form of therapy. Unlike traditional talk therapy, there will almost always be some therapy homework for you to complete between therapy sessions. Therapy homework is designed to help you learn and practice the CBT skills, and is a very important part of what makes this treatment so effective. I will teach you what you need to learn, but you will be doing the hard work of practicing the skills during the week. Follow-up sessions then typically involve reviewing homework and skills practice, discussing how the skills practice could fit in with what is happening during the week, and assigning homework for the next week.
If you are a minor, we may decide that part of some of our sessions will include your parent(s), so that they can be a good support system for you. If you are an adult, we may sometimes bring in partners or other family members, as needed to make sure the treatment is successful. The bottom line is that we can be flexible with what works best for you and your situation.