What is ERP Psychology? | better help (2023)

If you've heard two different people talk about ERP psychology, there's a good chance the two conversations didn't add up. Like many other acronyms, ERP can stand for more than one thing. In psychology, ERP can stand for either "event-related potential" or "exposure and response prevention." These are unrelated topics, except that they are both used by psychologists and researchers to describe concepts in psychology.

Event related potential

What does ERP stand for in psychology? When you talk about brainwaves, you're referring to event-related potential. In this sense, you can define ERP psychology as a response in the brain measured by an EEG (electroencephalogram). The response occurs after a specific event, which can be a sensory, cognitive, or motor experience. The EEG can measure it because it's part of the electrical activity in the brain.

Types of event-related potentials

There are two main sub-types of ERPs. One of them is evoked potentials (also called evoked responses). These electrical voltages occur when the subject is presented with a stimulus. These voltages range from less than a microvolt to a few microvolts, making them very difficult to distinguish from background noise. Scientists use signal averaging to find where the voltage rises to solve this problem. The other type of ERP in neuroscience is induced potentials.

Use of ERP in medicine and psychology

Elicited responses are typically recorded in the central nervous system, including the cerebral cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. An ERP scan can also be used in medicine, particularly to assess the damage caused by multiple sclerosis or other neurological diseases. Induced potentials are mainly used in neuroscientific research.

Studying ERPs can help scientists understand the brain in both mentally healthy people and those with brain injuries or mental illnesses like schizophrenia. In onelearnFor example, people with schizophrenia showed slower responses to a task compared to their mentally healthy peers. The researchers concluded that the slowed responses were due to difficulties in choosing.

ERPs provide a reliable way to testhearing problemsamong children and young people. Because the EEG records responses to stimuli, the doctor can easily determine whether the person can hear the auditory stimulus using an objective technique.

Face your fears with confidence

(Video) ERP Therapy for OCD | A Complete Guide | #PaigePradko, #OCDwithPaige, #OCD

Trust a therapist to show you how

ERPs can be used in diagnosing:

  • hearing problems
  • Brain stem lesions
  • spinal cord injuries
  • Come
  • Epilepsy
  • encephalitis
  • dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Disorders of the visual system (especially before birth and in newborns)

Exposure and Response Prevention

The second answer to "What is ERP in Psychology?" is exposure and response prevention. In this case, ERP refers to a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that is primarily used for people with OCD and other anxiety disorders. It is a well-studied method of psychotherapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder and has provided up to some relief83%of people with OCD engaged in ERP.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

CBTis a form of psychotherapy that assumes that someone will respond based on how they see the situation. The idea is that by changing thoughts, you can change behavior more easily. You decide which thoughts to change by observing which behaviors are not helpful to you and the thoughts behind those behaviors.

Hands-on problem solving is a key feature of CBT. While traditional talking therapies focus on gaining insight, CBT is more about introspection and targeted changes in thoughts and behaviors. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to learn how to make these changes yourself, eventually becoming your therapist.

What is the difference between exposure and response prevention?

Exposure and response prevention therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy in that it is a systematic and practical method of changing thoughts and behaviors. Unlike CBT, it relies on exposure to the feared stimulus along with a decision not to engage in compulsions, avoidance behaviors, or rituals common in OCD.

How does ERP work?

ERP therapy begins with a discussion of the techniques involved. This is to reduce the fear of the process. There are three main parts of the ERP. Before ERP begins, you must first collect information about your fears. Next, systematically expose yourself to the things you are afraid of. Eventually, when you expose yourself to the fears, you resist the things you normally do to feel like you are in control of your fear.

(Video) Your OCD "Mindset" - How To Be More Successful With Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

Dealing with fears systematically

Exposure and response prevention therapy is a systematic process. You do the preliminary work before moving on to exposure and response prevention. The exposure needs to be specific to minimize the exaggerated reaction you usually end up feeling.

recognize fears

Before even getting started with ERP techniques, the first step is to identify your fears. In your daily routines, be aware of the things that make you anxious. What things are so distressing that you struggle to control your fears through rituals? What things are so uncomfortable for you that they get stuck in your head and you can't stop thinking about them?

Write down as precisely as possible what triggered the feeling of fear and what thoughts you had about the fear. Then describe in detail how you reacted to that fear. For example, if a stranger touches you, you might get anxious, thinking that he might have all sorts of germs and give you a terrible contagious disease. You might respond by rushing home to scrub the area on your body where the stranger touched you, or spending hours thinking about what bad things could happen.

order fears

Once you have a complete list of your fears, rank them in order of how distressing they are. Rank each fear from 0 to 10 based on how intense the fear is. So, in the example above, you might be a little afraid of being around a stranger, more afraid if he touches your clothes, even more afraid if he touches the skin on your arm, and extremely afraid if he touches your face . If you have many different fears, you may need to create categories and classify each fear within that category. ERP therapists often call each category a "fear ladder."

Face your fears one by one

Exposure is the next step in ERP. In this part you have to expose yourself to fear by putting yourself in situations that could induce the fear. Start with the things you are least afraid of and work your way up to the things you are more afraid of.

An example could be the fear of being alone. You could start by spending a few minutes alone while someone you know has confidence in sight. Gradually increase this time until you are no longer afraid of it. Next, you might spend time alone with other people nearby, but not necessarily with anyone you know. Once you overcome this fear, you can move on to spending time alone in your apartment. At some point, you might even want to spend time alone in a secluded place like a cabin.

Using reaction prevention techniques

Many people with OCD and anxiety make repeated attempts to face their fears without success. It's not that they aren't brave enough. The problem is that they don't have techniques to change their reactions. This is what exposure and response prevention therapy is all about. You not only face the fears, you do so while practicing reaction prevention techniques you learn in therapy.

(Video) ERP Therapy for OCD | Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy OCD (In Hindi) | Dr Kashika Jain

Recognize and track progress

Notice the progress you make as you practice facing your fears by relying on reaction prevention techniques. Keep written records of the fears you have faced and how you have dealt with them. Be aware that if you're feeling more anxious during ERP, it can be a sign that you're doing a good job of facing your fears. Don't worry if you see that your fears aren't going away quickly. Give the ERP therapy time to take effect.

Avoid Avoid

When you work on ERP psychology, your goal is to face fears rather than avoid them. People in ERP therapy often use subtle avoidance to minimize their anxious responses. For example, someone who is afraid of germs that might be on a doorknob may avoid touching it altogether. If this is a step you have worked out, it might be helpful. However, if it's a way to avoid feeling afraid, it probably won't help at all.

Four useful reaction prevention techniques

Below are four specific reaction prevention techniques. You can practice them whenever you face the fears on the fear ladder you have created. These techniques can also be useful when you are unexpectedly confronted with a new situation that scares you.

resist urge

Face your fears with confidence

Trust a therapist to show you how

(Video) What is ERP Software? Here is everything you need to know.

People with OCD generally have incredibly strong urges to engage in compulsions and rituals. During reaction prevention, it is important to resist these urges while exposing yourself to your fears. Don't force yourself into the situation you fear and don't get involved with it afterwards either.

learn from others

Long-standing compulsions and rituals are difficult to overcome, but can be achieved through ERP therapy. Watch them do it and realize that they don't exhibit the same verification behavior as you do. Then do the same thing the same way.

Delaying and reducing the use of rituals

Delaying and reducing are two separate but related ways of dealing with anxiety. These are especially helpful when you start ERP therapy and are confronted with your biggest fears for the first time.

To delay the ritual, do not allow yourself to perform it until some time has passed after exposure. Suppose you are waiting for a friend. You're afraid they'll line you up, so your impulse is to constantly check the time. Still, try to wait at least five minutes before checking.

To reduce the ritual, you still perform the ritual, but you limit the time you spend doing it. So if your ritual for fear of being alone is to lock the door 5 times, go ahead and lock it twice. Then please resist the urge to do it three more times.

Try it again

The goal is to face the fear until your response is appropriate. One exposure is rarely enough. You may have to re-expose yourself to the anxious situation many times before you become comfortable with it. If you perform a ritual in the situation, the fear can increase. So if you engage in compulsions or rituals when faced with a fear, immediately expose yourself to the fear again and try again.

Climbing the ladder of fear

You started with a ladder of fear, or maybe several. Every time you climb a rung and feel even a little bit of fear in that situation, you're ready to work on facing the next fear. ERP therapy can continue in this manner while you face all the fears up your fear ladder or ladders. You can also learn to do this work on your own after working with a therapist long enough to overcome some significant fears.

(Video) ERP OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Hindi Psychotherapy Behavior Dr Rajiv Psychiatrist in Hindi

Living with OCD on a day-to-day basis can be very difficult. It can cause you to limit your activities and reduce your social and geographic circle. Exposure and response prevention therapy can change your attitude to many different situations.

If you have fears that seem overwhelming to you, therapy can help you face those fears and reduce the anxiety you feel about situations that cause them. You can speak to a licensed consultant atbetter help, for example for online therapy for this and other mental health problems. You can face your fears now and gain the skills to face additional fears if they arise later. A more comfortable and enjoyable life may be closer than you think!


1. ERP & FMRI Scans Explained | Biopsychology | A-Level Psychology
2. 17. OCD Treatment - Doing ERP with 'Pure O'
(Katie d'Ath)
3. Exposure and response prevention therapy OCD | How to do ERP therapy at home? | Dr Kashika Jain
(Dr Kashika Jain : Psychologist)
4. The Risks and Dangers of Self-Directed ERP Therapy
(Chrissie Hodges)
5. 5 MUST DO’s in ERP for OCD & Anxiety Exposures #PaigePradko, #OCDwithPaige, #ExposureTherapy
(Paige Pradko)
6. OCD Treatment with ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention)- An Overview of ERP for OCD- Urdu
(Psychiatry Clinic)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated: 08/02/2023

Views: 5858

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.