exposure: facing your fears

It's natural to avoid your fears, including people, events, or situations that you find scary. The trouble is that sometimes by avoiding feared situations, you may not learn that things are not as scary as you think. When avoidance occurs for an extended period of time, anxiety may get worse until it begins to impact your life, relationships, school, and work.

Exposure is one of the most effective ways to treat anxiety and phobias. The concept behind it is that you face your fears repeatedly, and in a gradual manner. At first, the anxiety you feel upon exposure to a feared thing, person, or situation may intensify, but this feeling will naturally lessen. You'll feel comfortable and safe again as you begin to build up confidence and successful experience in conquering and facing your fears. 

Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.
— Judy Blume

some components of exposure therapy include: 

1. Making a list of things you or your child are afraid of

2. Arranging them from most scary to least scary on a 'fear ladder'

3. Face each fear, starting with the least scary, on a repeated, ongoing basis. 

4. Reward yourself or your child for facing the fear!

This process can be straightforward for some, but more challenging for others, depending on the nature of the fear, the circumstances, and the individual person. We're all different and that's okay. If you would like support in this process, we're happy to help! Together we will come up with an approach to help you face the fears and live the life you want.

exposure therapy is evidence-based


Exposure Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders. This means that it has been proven to be safe and effective through rigorously conducted scientific and clinical research involving thousands of patients and careful comparison of effects to alternative treatments.

Evidence-based treatments can increase the chance that problems are treated effectively, and that gains are maintained following treatment, reducing the risk of problems reoccuring in the future.

You are not alone. we can help.

At hope+wellness, we provide exceptional psychotherapy services to empower people to live happier, healthier lives. Our services are grounded in evidence-based treatments that suggest an important interconnectedness between mind, body, life experience, and wellness, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based therapies. Our office is located in Falls Church, Virginia. We serve the McLean, Great Falls, Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria, and the greater Washington DC region. We will work together to help you heal and develop the skills to live fully aware, fully resilient, fully peaceful, mindful, and alive.