Exposure is arguably the most important component of anxiety-related treatment. Despite decades of study, however, researchers are still developing an understanding of how it works and refining the procedures to improve effectiveness. This is an exciting time for exposure! Newer research is questioning the role of habituation in successful exposure and increasingly emphasizing the importance of developing a willingness to experience fear and anxiety.
For the last few years, I"ve been working to immerse myself in exposure research. This has been a steep learning curve, as I didn"t receive much background in graduate school. At times I"ve felt overwhelmed by the more technical accounts. However, I"ve persevered, and although I still have a lot to learn, I feel my clinical work is better for it.
I"ve written these posts to develop my own understanding of exposure and in the hopes that other therapists would find them helpful, too. I"m extremely interested in the cutting edge work being done to create more flexible models and approaches for applying exposure-based interventions, particularly in the context of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.