Road Map for Exposure Therapy

LeiaFlower

Confident
My therapist mentioned trying exposure therapy in regards to going back to an area that's related to my anxiety and hypervigilance. For context, I'm no longer able to go to her personal office due to having multiple nightmares where I was abused there. The exposure therapy isn't for a while due to still needing to develop grounding techniques. I know there's no rush and I should wait until I'm ready. I guess I'm just wondering what's the road map to exposure therapy? What skills do I have to first build before attempting exposure therapy, and how do I build them?

I know everyone's map will look different depending on where they are on their journey. I just want to make sure I'm actually moving and not staying stagnant. It's anxiety of mine that I'm not doing enough in regards to my mental health. Even though I could be doing everything, it never feels like enough. I have the knowledge and the awareness of things, it's just applying it is where I fall short. How do you apply these skills more?
 

Friday

Moderator
I’ve come here to chime in no fewer than eleventeen times, now… and keep losing my posts in drafts (my own durn fault, my emotional monitoring and regulation looks like a heart rate monitor attached to a rabid squirrel who’s pounding energy drinks this month 😖🤩😵‍💫 Aieeeee)

So in the interim of a clear, concise, and useful answer on my part?

There are a whoooooooole lotta paths on that roadmap… here’s a fantastic link that discusses a handful of them! Guidance for using a trauma diary for exposure therapy (cbt)

(And hopefully others will give a shout, now that this will jump back into the New Posts list; and I’ll be able to chime in with my own stuff, sooner rather than later).
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
Thank you :) I know I need to start with grounding first. But I guess wanted a better idea since it’s a current goal with my therapist. Was going to ask her my previous session but got side track with other things going on.
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
Hey there, exposure therapy is a big step and looks like you’re in the mind space to get there! Not easy as I figure you already know, and why you’re stacking on grounding and coping techniques. Those are gonna be vital.

Like you said, everyone’s roadmap will be different. I’m gonna share a bit of mine in case something clicks for you. If not, ignore.

One exposure piece I worked on involves a thing, an object. It can be painted in a positive light, but because of what happened, my brain associates it with danger, death, etc.
The first time I tried exposure with it, things went….numb, blank, flat. Yep. My go to. Automatic. I couldn’t get close to it, but it was a good start. Then I avoided. My T didn’t push cuz it’s up to me, life got busy and I kept avoiding.

Now we have a different strategy. For when the time is right. Like you, I have a thing with not working hard enough on my mental health. There’s just several areas of focus, life, work, etc. All of it changes how we prepare for exposure. If you can, put what you can on pause so you can focus on exposure therapy. Stay the course.

Next phase is to revisit the object, and paint it with the positive attributes it provides in an attempt to remove the negative - danger/death.

Depending on what your exposure will involve, there will be ways to reframe what it all means to you….I hope you find relief
 
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