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Chickentrap t1_isu8rol wrote


heiferly t1_isujwz5 wrote

I'm a behaviorist who happens to have OCD. I did exposure therapy and I believe in its effectiveness... But I saw a TV show where an OCD therapist wanted her patient to touch a port-a-potty seat and lick her hand after. I don't know if the patient did it, bc it went against the medical ethics courses I took and I didn't watch the rest of the show. I can't believe a provider would think that's acceptable.


Chickentrap t1_isuqlze wrote

I didn't realise exposure was effective in adults. I always assumed it to be mostly beneficial to children to develop a robust immune system.

And that's ridiculous, but was probably dramatised for tv purposes. I don't think any credible therapist would sanction that method.


murgatroid1 t1_isut2l6 wrote

Exposure Therapy is a psychological treatment for anxiety disorders and isn't the same as deliberate exposure to pathogens in order to trigger an immune response, like you're talking about with children. And *that* sort of exposure does work with adults to some extent (like in vaccines), but it happens more in childhood because that's when everything is new to the immunue system.


regular_modern_girl t1_isvq55f wrote

Yeah it seems that a number of people thought it would be a good idea to do that sort of “exposure therapy” with covid early in the pandemic, and it…generally didn’t work out so well for a lot of them.


heiferly t1_isuxlab wrote

What murgatroid said. It's a behavioral-based psychological treatment, related to cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis, etc. It's used to treat OCD or specific phobias (which I think they changed in the latest DSM but I'm old and out of school and that's not my field of practice and I'm gross with covid fever so no googling, sorry).

Basically you get exposed to things that cause you mild anxiety and slowly increase until you acclimatize to your biggest anxieties; in recent years research has shown pairing this with beta blockers can be highly effective and faster.


SuurAlaOrolo t1_isvgiwv wrote

May I ask: I have a phobia of flying in an airplane that developed in my 20s. (Previously I flew dozens of times; now I haven’t flown since 2012.) I saw a psychologist who recommended exposure therapy, and I’ve heard about its effectiveness, but I simply can’t fathom how it works for flying. I tried it per my psychologist’s suggestion: looked at magazines with pictures of cabin seating, watched YouTube videos of turbulent flights, went to the airport and looked at flights taking off. It felt silly. I have no anxiety response to these things—they aren’t dangerous. Could you please explain how it is supposed to work?


heiferly t1_iswck9o wrote

Technically I can't give a professional opinion over the internet, but given a hypothetical situation presented as you've described above, my knee-jerk reaction would be that for whatever reason, the practitioner planned and executed the treatment incorrectly. The planning aspect in particular is closely tied to the same theories and techniques I learned in graduate applied behavior analysis courses; laypeople commonly hold misconceptions about the jargon of my field but a psychologist should definitely be familiar with the concepts and their application.

I'm sorry you had such a poor experience. I'm terminally ill, immunocompromised, and currently ill with my third acute bout of covid (plus long covid since the 2nd bout) so I intend to return and answer here more but for now rest.