ERP and ExRP are kinds of psychotherapy used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP stands for Exposure and Response Prevention. Innovations in this psychotherapy over the past ten years resulted in its being given a new name: Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ExRP). The two therapies are similar, and both build on core behavioral therapy concepts. The purpose of this article is to provide information about what these therapies involve, and how they might be helpful to people suffering from OCD.
OCD is a psychological disorder that has been documented for thousands of years. OCD is characterized by the presence of either obsessions, compulsions, or both. Obsessions can be thought of as intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety. They are difficult to get rid of, despite one’s best efforts. Compulsions are activities, often performed repetitively. We often experience anxiety when we are not able to perform the compulsion.
For several decades after the early psychoanalysts wrote about obsessions (starting in the late nineteenth century), treatment for OCD would typically involve psychoanalysis that strove to root out the unconscious cause for an obsession. [Read more…]