ERP, (Exposure and Response Therapy) is an important part of any OCD treatment. It involves working with your therapist to ‘expose’ yourself to the thing you really don’t what to do (obsessional thought or belief about something ) and then NOT performing the behaviour (Complusion) you would normally do to bring a sense of relief/reduce distress.
Sadly, this relief is short-lived and the Compulsion negatively reinforces the behaviour (keeps it going).
For example, if I drive over a bump in the road and have a thought ‘What is I’ve run someone over ?’, that’s potentially upsetting. BUT, going back to check, googling local news for run over passers-by, and ruminating on my drive may reduce my distress this is a bear trap ! The OCD will always come up with the ‘What If…’ or provide a doubting thoughts to challenge your (shaky) certainty ! So, performing the compulsion whether a physical or mental ritual just keeps the whole thing going.
In therapy what I ask you to do (not straight away don’t worry !) is to gradually let go of these compulsions and slowly find out for yourself that nothing awful happens. This is also about helping you to change your relationship with the OCD thoughts and images that come in. Together, we work out (formulate) what the process is with your unique maintenance factors) and steadily reduce the compulsions with ERP.
Have any questions, why not get in touch ?!