Leone Centre Glossary

Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is an important component of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), designed to help individuals confront and manage their fears and anxieties. By gradually exposing clients to the situations that trigger their anxiety, step-by-step, in a controlled environment, exposure therapy aims to reduce the power these fears hold over them.

Understanding Fear and Anxiety

Exposure therapy addresses the underlying fears and anxieties that can disrupt daily life. It is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

How It Works

In exposure therapy, individuals are encouraged to safely get closer to what is triggering their anxiety in a gradual and controlled manner. This process helps them develop resilience and reduce their fear response over time.

Key Benefits

  1. Helps individuals confront and manage their fears.
  2. Reduces avoidance behaviour.
  3. Improves overall quality of life by decreasing anxiety levels.

Convenience and Flexibility

This therapy can be adapted to each individual’s pace and comfort level, ensuring a personalised approach to support.

About Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a psychological approach that encourages safe and gradual exposure to feared objects or situations to help individuals overcome their anxiety.

How It Helps

This therapy helps by reducing the fear and avoidance associated with specific situations or objects, ultimately leading to a more balanced and less anxious life.

How It Works

The process involves repeated exposure to the feared object or context without any danger to help reduce the fear response. Actions can include in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure, and interoceptive exposure.


What is exposure therapy in CBT?
Exposure therapy in CBT is an approach where individuals are gradually and safely exposed to the sources of their anxiety to help them manage and reduce their fear response.
Who can benefit from exposure therapy?
Individuals with phobias, PTSD, OCD, and other anxiety-related conditions can benefit from exposure therapy.
How long does exposure therapy take?
The duration of exposure therapy can vary depending on the individual and the specific fears being addressed. It is usually a gradual process adapted to each person’s needs.


  1. NHS: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  2. Psychology Today: Exposure Therapy
  3. American Psychological Association: Exposure Therapy for PTSD
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision