HOW to let the thoughts come?
Ironically, when you try to ALLOW the thoughts to come you may find it hard to think them – this might sound ok but remember that the purpose of the Exposure Experiment is to EXPERIENCE the thoughts so that you lose your fear of them. Not being able to have the thoughts is ok momentarily but the fear may remain.
Because the thoughts bring a great deal of distress it can be hard to find the motivation for exposure practice. You must weigh up the options.
AVOIDANCE Vs EXPOSURE
Avoidance and thought control CAN help you avoid some anxiety – but at what cost – you never learn how to deal with the thoughts and the problem is MAINTAINED indefinitely
Graduated exposure experiments initially raise your anxiety level but in the long term they help you OVERCOME the problem.
GIVING IT TIME
You need to stay with each exposure until your anxiety levels drop by around half – otherwise the fear will be maintained.
And it is important to REPEAT the exposure DAILY so that you give yourself every chance to become desensitised and so that you see that your feared consequences DON’T happen.