Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the first line psychological therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and it is also effective in treating other anxiety disorders. ERP is primarily a behavioural treatment and it involves confronting the thoughts, images, or situations that make a person with OCD anxious, and then resisting the compulsive behaviours that most people with OCD engage in when they feel anxious. ERP is about learning new ways to manage anxious feelings instead of using compulsions to get rid of anxiety. Compulsions are one of the prime factors in maintaining the anxiety over time, so while this treatment can initially cause short term anxiety, over time anxiety reduces in a process called habituation. Medication is often a useful addition to therapy for people with OCD and this can be discussed with your GP or a psychiatrist.