What is Exposure and Response Prevention? (Pros & Cons)

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Published Date|
November 22, 2022

What is Exposure and Response Prevention? (Pros & Cons)


Sometimes, it feels hard to manage our reactions in a given situation.


We may feel out of control or unable to stop a behaviour – even if we want to.


Here at KMA, we’re passionate about helping you gain control and live the life you deserve. For over 14 years, we’ve been educating clients on the different types of therapy and helping them learn what may work best for them.


By the end of this article, you’ll know what happens during Exposure and Response Prevention, ways to know if it’ll be a good fit for you, and some alternatives if you’d like to try something different.

What Is Exposure and Response Prevention?


Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that helps expose you to your fears in a safe environment.


This process allows you to learn skills to cope with your fears to change your reaction to them.

What Issues Does Exposure and Response Prevention treat?

Exposure and response prevention is intended to help you confront challenging thoughts and feelings (exposure) while finding new and healthier ways to respond to them (response prevention).

Exposure and Response Prevention treats issues such as:


  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Anxiety-related Disorders
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias

What Happens During Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy?


Your therapist will guide you through exercises that are a combination of exposure to situations that are distressing and preventing undesired responses to these situations.

The main goals of ERP are to help you:

  • Feel more comfortable in anxiety-inducing situations
  • Understand how your fears can inform your belief system
  • Develop new, healthier thought patterns to live a more fulfilling life
  • Explore how situations, people, or events have reinforced your fears

exposure and response prevention pros and cons

Pros of Exposure and Response Prevention


Exposure and Response Prevention is a rigorous and highly effective form of therapy. It can help you address reactions or responses that negatively impact your life.


Exposure and Response Prevention may work well for you if:

  • You have specific behaviours that you’d like to address and replace
  • You’re interested in action and exercise-based therapy techniques
  • You want to reduce the impact specific reactions have on your life


Cons of Exposure and Response Prevention


While Exposure and Response Prevention’s rigorous nature makes it effective, it may not be the right fit for everyone.

Exposure and Response Prevention may not be the right choice for you if:


  • You’re primarily interested in talk-based therapy
  • You want to explore past experiences and memories at length
  • You’re interested in participating in a relationship-driven form of therapy

Alternatives to Exposure and Response Prevention

Exposure and response prevention is a specialized form of therapy that can be incredibly effective in some areas - but may not be appropriate to address the challenges you're facing.

Some alternatives to Exposure and Response Prevention include:



These forms of therapy offer more opportunities to discuss your challenges at length.


Next Steps For Exposure and Response Prevention in Toronto

After reading this article, you now know what Exposure and Response Prevention is, how to know if it could work for you, and some alternatives to consider.


Here at KMA, we’ve spent the past 14 years customizing therapy plans to improve our clients’ lives.


Your introductory appointment will help establish if Exposure and Response Prevention or another form of therapy is the best option for you and match you with the best therapist for your needs.


Register online to book an introductory appointment, or contact us directly to learn more.

If you’re not yet ready to book an appointment, read these resources for more information:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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