Our Approach

Exposure Therapy is the most EFFECTIVE treatment
for anxiety and OCD.

A counseling approach that works.

Decades of research have proven that Exposure Therapy is more effective at relieving anxiety and OCD than any other type of counseling.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of therapists and psychologists don’t do Exposure Therapy because they have not been trained in it. This is why so many of our clients have tried counseling before but found that it did little or nothing for their anxiety.

You may have found it helpful for a little while but it didn’t last: the anxiety came back stronger than ever and now you feel even more hopeless.

Luckily, even if therapy has failed for you before, at Anxiety Solutions of Denver…

Therapy with us brings results even when other counseling methods haven’t.

We specialize in Exposure Therapy (a type of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy), which has been proven to dramatically reduce anxiety and OCD.

So What is Exposure Therapy?

Exposure Therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that make you anxious so that you get used to them and they don’t make you anxious anymore.

This is always done at a pace of your choosing, so that you gradually get more and more comfortable with the things that make you anxious. 

It works for any kind of anxiety or OCD.

It’s effective because gradual exposure to the things that cause you anxiety re-trains your brain so that you no longer react to those things with anxiety.

How Anxiety Works

Right now, your brain looks at the situations, thoughts, objects, and places that trigger your anxiety and decides that they are dangerous. It then uses anxiety as a warning signal to alert you to the danger so you can escape from the trigger in some way in order to reduce the anxiety.

This is called avoidance, and it is the cause of any anxiety problem. Avoidance of anxiety and the things that trigger your anxiety keeps the anxiety going in the long run because it prevents your brain from learning that your anxiety triggers are not actually dangerous.

When you avoid the things that make you anxious in the short-term, your anxiety gets worse in the long-term.

We Help Re-train Your Brain so That it
Reduces or Eliminates Anxiety

In order to fix the problem, you must re-train your brain to understand that your anxiety triggers are not actually dangerous.

This can only be done through direct experience…after all, you’ve probably tried talking yourself out of anxiety before or tried to “think rationally” already, right? It just makes you feel crazy because you think “I KNOW this is irrational! I KNOW I shouldn’t be so anxious about this, but I can’t help it!”

Well unfortunately, you can’t talk your brain out of an anxiety problem.

Your brain needs to be convinced by directly experiencing that the anxiety trigger is not actually dangerous. This is what we do in Exposure Therapy.

This may sound scary, but rest assured that we will do it at your pace and guide you every step of the way. We will show you how to do each exposure exercise and, step-by-step, exactly what to do to make it work. We will do it with you during our sessions, even if it means working outside our counseling office to help you overcome something that is causing you anxiety.

Case Example: Pete’s Fear of Dogs

Note: This is just a simplified example to demonstrate the idea. Your problem might be much more complicated than this, but the same concepts still apply.

Here is a simple example to demonstrate how our form of anxiety treatment works:

Pete is afraid of dogs. But Pete’s children desperately want to get a dog. He wants to make his children happy but also does not want to live in constant fear inside his own home. Here is what is happening:

  1. Every time Pete is faced with a dog, he becomes anxious.
    This is because his brain evaluates the dog as dangerous, and uses anxiety to warn him that he is in danger.
  2. In order to relieve this anxiety, he runs away from the dog.
    This works in the immediate short-term: in that moment, he is no longer anxious because he gets away from the dog (his anxiety trigger).
  3. However, this strategy does not work for him in the long-term. 
    The next time he is confronted with a dog, he will be just as anxious or even more anxious because he avoided the previous dog rather than facing it. By avoiding the dog, he prevented his brain from learning that it is not dangerous! If he continues to avoid dogs like this, he will always be afraid of dogs and may never be willing to get a dog for his kids.

Note that Pete can try all he wants to convince himself that the dog is not dangerous by saying things to himself like “The dog isn’t going to bite me”, or “I’m going to be ok, it’s just a dog.” But even though he might already realize his fear is irrational, this will NOT change his brain’s reaction to the dog. He will still get anxious when he sees one.

The only way to change his brain’s reaction to the dog is to learn through direct contact that the dog is not dangerous.

Here is how Exposure Therapy would work for Pete:

  1. He sees one of our therapists, who gradually helps him spend time with dogs both during and between sessions. First he practices just being in the same room with a dog. Then he practices petting a dog. Finally, he works his way up to holding a dog. 
  2. At first, each step makes him very anxious, but he stays with it.
  3. As the counseling sessions progress he eventually gets used to being with dogs, and they no longer cause him anxiety. This is because his brain gradually learns from this experience that the dog is not dangerous.
  4. He is now willing to get a dog for his kids and can comfortably live with this dog without feeling anxious.

This same basic process of Exposure Therapy that would work for Pete’s fear of dogs works for any other type of anxiety or OCD you may be facing, because:

When you do the things that make you anxious in the short-term, your anxiety decreases in the long-term.

Wondering How Exposure Therapy Can Help You?

At this point, you are probably wondering if Exposure Therapy would really work for you. In fact, your mind is probably coming up with all kinds of reasons why it won’t work for YOUR unique type of anxiety! Maybe you’re even wondering if your problem is actually anxiety or something else entirely.

If you have any of these concerns, it is perfectly natural…it’s what anxious minds do, and that’s ok.

It may help to hear about some of the real people we have helped:

Click here to read some of our Success Stories with real clients.

Or, you can also read on for answers to questions that clients often ask us about Exposure Therapy:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Exposure Therapy take?

Exposure usually works relatively quickly, within a few weeks or a few months. A full course of treatment typically takes about 5 to 15 sessions. Most clients start to see some improvements shortly after starting the exposure exercises.

I don’t even know what triggers my anxiety, it seems like it just happens all the time!  How can we do exposure if we don’t know what the trigger is?

Anxiety triggers can often be difficult to identify, which is why it can seem like the anxiety comes out of nowhere. But there is always a trigger. Anxiety does not just happen randomly even though it may seem that way sometimes.

We will use our extensive experience with anxiety clients to help you identify subtle triggers, which we will then use for exposure exercises.

I get exposed to the things I’m afraid of all the time.  It hasn’t worked so far.  Why would Exposure Therapy work for me?

This is a good question that we get all the time. You are correct, you’ve already had lots of exposure to the things that make you anxious, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be seeking help. However, the problem is that when you get exposed, there is something you are doing to avoid the trigger or the anxiety itself. And any avoidance prevents exposure from working.

Avoidance behaviors can be subtle and you may not even realize what you are doing to avoid the anxiety. It may even seem like you are not avoiding at all. But there is no such thing as an anxiety problem without some form of avoidance. Even doing anything to partially avoid the anxiety or the anxiety triggers can prevent exposure from working.

Most people are not aware of how they are avoiding, which is where we can help. We will help you recognize and eliminate avoidance behaviors you may not be aware of that are maintaining your anxiety. Then your exposure will work and your anxiety will decrease.

What if I have too much anxiety to be exposed to my “triggers”?  What if I can’t handle it?

At every point in counseling, YOU will decide what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. We will not (nor could we) force you to do anything that you do not want to do.

And even though facing your anxiety may be scary, we will help you every step of the way. We will show you exactly what to do when you feel anxious, and we will be WITH you for your exposure exercises whenever possible.

We are your partner in the treatment, and we want you to get better.  Most people find out through doing this type of therapy that they can handle more than they thought, which can be empowering.

What if the thing I’m afraid of actually IS dangerous?  How do we expose to that?

We will NEVER ask you to do anything that we think is dangerous. We will also NEVER ask you to do anything that we would not do ourselves.

In accordance with this, we will, whenever possible, demonstrate doing the exposures ourselves before you do them.

Instead of doing anything dangerous, we will design an exposure to the perceived RISK of something dangerous happening rather than actually exposing to anything dangerous. We design exposures like this all the time. They are safe and very effective.

You probably have your own questions as well, and we would be happy to answer them.

If you want to have your questions answered TODAY and learn more about how Exposure Therapy could work for you, here are your next steps:

  1. Contact us for a free phone consultation, where we’ll answer all your questions and help you decide whether we are the right fit for you or your child.
  2. If you are ready to book an appointment, contact us now and we’ll get you scheduled with one of our anxiety specialists.
error: Content is protected !!