Creating a MAP - Part 4&5
Sessions 10 and Onward: Behavioural Tools Part 2, Including Exposure
This section guides you in gradually approaching the situations and activities that anxiety has previously had you avoid. You will decide what to do, and using the tools you have learned in prior sections, you will gradually, in a step by step way, move through situations and/or activities you have been avoiding. For example, riding the bus to work, going to a party, or getting some dental work. You will set the pace and remain in charge of what you do, rather than anxiety continuing to be the boss.
To help you confront your anxiety and no longer let anxiety “be the boss.” You will learn, through a gradual, step-by-step process, how to face your fears one by one, starting with tasks that are not too scary/hard, working your way up to harder and more challenging tasks when you feel ready.
Topic: Introduction to exposure therapy
Instructions: As a first step to conducting exposure exercises, an essential part of learning to challenge your anxiety, read over the material on avoidance, as well as intolerance of uncertainty. Then take some time to read over the Facing Fears section with a focus on Step 3, which involves learning how to overcome your fears by conducting exposure exercises. Then review the material on safety behaviours and reassurance seeking, and start to take steps to reduce both. Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself – facing fears is not easy! This session also includes some information related to specific anxiety disorders – review the material to see what might be relevant to you.
- Tolerating Uncertainty
- Reassurance Seeking
- Safety Behaviours
- Partner Assisted Rituals
- Worry Scripts: What They are and How to Write One
- Facing my Fears (Steps 3)
- Rewarding Bravery
Topic: Continuing exposure and/or engaging in other helpful behavioural tools
Instructions: For the next several sessions, the focus is on continuing to face your fears (see Facing My Fears: Exposure section – Steps 3 and 4). In addition, take steps to build your tolerance for uncertainty and overcome perfectionism (focus on Step 2, Tool 2). This is also a good time to review the material on how friends and family can help and steps for maintain a healthy lifestyle.
These sessions also include lots of information related to specific anxiety disorders – skim through the other material to see what might be relevant to you.
- Facing my Fears (Steps 3 & 4)
- How Friends and Family Can Help
- Changing or Delaying OCD Rituals
- Habit Reversal Training for BFRBs
- Stimulus Control for BFRBs
- Hoarding Tools
- Tips for Healthy Living
- Overcoming Perfectionism
Topic: Exposure: Special topics OR continue exposure work
Instructions: Continue to work on exposure exercises. Check out the materials on exposure therapy for specific disorders, as well as some special topics, that might be relevant to you.
- Exposure Therapy for Hoarding
- Exposure Therapy for OCD: ERP
- Exposure Therapy for Panic Disorder
- Exposure Therapy for PTSD
- Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety
- Exposure Therapy for Specific Phobia
- Effective Communication: Improving your Social Skills
Session 20: Wrap Party
This session marks the last session of the MAP program, and gets you ready to finish wrap up your hard work.
To design an exposure ladder to keep you engaged in exposures on a routine basis, also called living an exposure lifestyle. This can mean doing an exposure once every few days, or planning for a once-in-a-while exposure to prevent specific fears from creeping back in. In addition, you will create a Relapse Prevention plan that teaches the difference between a lapse and a relapse, and offers guidance on how to prevent anxiety from making a ‘come back.’ As well, this session is an opportunity to celebrate your hard work. Some individuals like to use this final session to have a small celebration to mark the occasion, such as going out to a restaurant, taking a day-trip somewhere meaningful, or doing a special activity together.
Topic: Creating an exposure lifestyle to maintain progress, and wrapping up
Instructions: For this last session, the goal is to continue to make facing fears and engaging in exposure exercises a part of your daily life. In addition, review the material on relapse prevention to help you take the steps to develop a plan for managing your anxiety in the long term.