What does it mean to be brave? Often people associate the words “brave” and “fearless” and assume that brave people have no fear, when the reality is that one cannot be brave without feeling fear. Bravery is not required to do something that feels easy or safe. Being brave is feeling the fear without letting it control or define you. It’s feeling afraid and doing the scary thing anyway.
Anxiety and fear thrive when avoidance, reassurance and distraction are used as primary coping skills. The very thing we think is helping us cope makes the fear bigger and bigger as our world shrinks. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, bravely facing our fears is the only way through them. This is why I use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) with my clients. ERP is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is the gold standard for treating OCD and anxiety disorders. Using ERP, I work with clients to create an exposure hierarchy so that they can challenge their fears at their own pace.