At the core of most emotional disorders is a steadfast resolution to avoid certain areas discomfort and distress. While avoidance may provide immediate relief from discomfort, it can result in deeper, secondary problems that can be much more debilitating than the discomfort itself!
Exposure is about reversing avoidance and courageously engaging areas of discomfort and distress that block your progress. Through exposure you learn to activate toward your goals even in the face of strong emotions. Your emotions become more manageable, less disruptive, and your confidence in handling them increases. You’ll learn that accepting and engaging strong emotions is a necessary step in a life worth living.
How Exposure Works
Science has shown that emotions are like waves: they build, peak and resolve. When emotions are fully experienced they tend to run their course quickly. When they are suppressed and avoided they last longer. This is because avoidance blocks your brain’s natural ability to learn about your emotions and the situations that trigger them. Through exposure, you will learn:
- That emotions don’t last forever – what comes up, must come down
- New ways of understanding (interpreting, judging) situations that trigger your emotion
- How to effectively apply your new CBT skills – mindfulness, self-talk, motivation enhancement
- Skills to function more effectively in the situations that trigger your fear