Exposure Response Prevention - ERP
One of the most important techniques used in CBT for children with anxiety is called exposure and response prevention (ERP). The basic idea is that kids are exposed to the things that trigger their anxiety in structured, incremental steps, in a safe setting. As they become accustomed to each of the triggers, the anxiety fades, and they are ready to take on increasingly more challenging ones. As parents, it is tempting to protect kids from things that make them anxious, but learning to tolerate anxiety is how we overcome fears. In exposure therapy we try to change the behavior to get rid of the fear. Exposure therapy is effective for many different types of anxiety, including separation anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety. Recently, it is being used in the treatment of an eating disorder called ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), where children are exposed to foods they fear in hierarchical steps.