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Exposure And Response Prevention

Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP, EX/RP) is an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This CBT worksheet guides therapists and clients though the key steps of ERP.

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Introduction & Theoretical Background

Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP) is one of the recommended treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In simple terms ERP involves exposing yourself to a trigger for your obsessions and refraining from performing your usual compulsions. This often involves tolerating anxiety, and you are encouraged to record the pattern of this over time as you complete ERP.

Therapist Guidance

The technique of exposure and response prevention should only be carried out in the presence of a clear shared formulation of why it is expected to be helpful. The basic steps involved in EX/RP are:
  • Expose yourself to the trigger
  • Resist performing the compulsion
  • Record distress (or urge to perform compulsion) over time

References And Further Reading

  • Abramowitz, J. S. (1996). Variants of exposure and response prevention in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A meta-analysis. Behavior Therapy, 27(4), 583-600.
  • Boersma, K., Den Hengst, S., Dekker, J., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (1976). Exposure and response prevention in the natural environment: A comparison with obsessive-compulsive patients. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 14(1), 19-24.