Today’s post is about important reflections to be made before and after an exposure.
Important strategies to handle possible strong reactions during exposure are:
– Regulate stress-level through mindful breathing and relaxation techniques, see earlier posts under stress on www.jennyrapp.com
– Feel the feelings: which feelings, how strong, where do you feel the feeling in the body, what is the motivational impulse = what you would like to do if you would act on that feeling
– Re-evaluate the probability of the threat, identify misinterpretations and create alternative thoughts that are more nuanced, i.e. that takes in both pros and cons
Exposures have to be repeated several times during the week until the level of discomfort is maximum 3. It is important to log both your expectations of potential reactions before the exposure as well as the actual outcome to identify and consolidate learnings into your spontaneous reaction patterns.
Before the exposure:
– What is your level of discomfort and feelings on scale 1-10?
– What do you think will happen?
– What is your feared scenario and what are the worst dimensions of that?
– What will be your likely feelings and bodily sensations?
– What will be your alternative and supportive thought/mantra?
– What techniques will you use to calm yourself to ensure you stay within 3 to 8 on a scale 1 to 10 on feelings and level of discomforts?
After the exposure:
– Which were the highest actual types and levels of feelings as well as how long did they last?
– Which was the level of discomfort during and after the exercise?
– Were the bodily sensations as intensive and as difficult to manage as you imagined?
– Did you do any strategies to avoid emotions by distracting yourself or avoiding certain parts that should have been in the exercise?
– Did what you feared happen and if so, how did you handle that?
– What did you learn from the exercise?
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