In an anxiety treatment, the therapist challenges you to do things that trigger your anxiety in a way, because that is the best way to overcome your anxiety. You do this with exposure assignments. Because of the corona regulations it can be more difficult to do your exposure assignments. Therefore, you may worry that your treatment will be less effective. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case! Why not? I’ll explain it in this blog.
What are exposure assignments?
In an treatment for anxiety, your therapist helps you to do those things that you find scary and trigger anxiety. For some this is working on seeking social contact, for others this is visiting a busy station hall. For someone else it may be shopping or driving. By doing things that you find scary, you get used to the situation. It actually works just like with children going to school for the first time. The first day is scary, but after a few weeks they are used to.
Corona makes exposure impossible: not true!
Now with the corona regulations you cannot just go anywhere. That makes planning the right exposure assignment more challenging . What to do now? Try to realize that it is not helpful if you stop practising now. And here is more possible than you may think.
Can you think of other exposure assignments for the coming period? What can you do next? Take a moment and make, maybe together with your therapist, a list of exposure assignments that you can still do. I will help you:
1. Exposure assignments for a panic disorder
It may not be easy to position yourself in situations where you experienced fear, such as the train or a concert. However, you can do exposure assignments with interoceptive exposure assignments. This is cognitive behavioral therapy. The purpose of interoceptive exposure is exposure to physical sensations, so that you learn to tolerate them. You can do these assignments perfectly from your home. Do them a few times a day, choosing different exercises each time.
2. Exposure assignments for social phobia
Social contact is a lot more difficult in daily life because of the corona crisis. Try to challenge yourself any way! Make contact with friends, family or friends by telephone. Or call institutions to ask questions. You can also schedule video calls with people, for example for a dinner, a cup of coffee or for a crafty afternoon, but then via Facetime or Skype. App contact could also be an exposure assignment. Maybe you can leave a voice message for someone instead of a text. Or write an old-fashioned letter if it is a challenge for you.
The most important is that you stay active with facing your fears. As a result, your fear will decrease more and more. Focus on what you can do currently. Don’t let the corona regulations be an excuse. I understand that the temptation is great, but it will not help you in the end.
Do you want help with exposure assignments? Discuss it with your therapist. Feel free to send a chat to your professional!