The distinction between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is frequently misunderstood. Furthermore, receiving one over the other might imply the difference between healing and being trapped in the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) cycle and experiencing symptoms.

It can be difficult to determine what type of therapy they require. Fill out this questionnaire to find the right therapist you need. One individual may have advised them to seek CBT, while another may have advised them to seek ERP. Let’s see how these therapies differ and which one is best for OCD.

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Price comparison between physical & online therapy for OCD

Traditional CBT sessions typically last 50 minutes and cost between $100 and $200 a session. On the contrary, working with an ERP-trained therapist costs roughly $350 to $500 every session, and these fees are usually paid entirely out of pocket.

As a result, ERP has always been prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain. However, BetterHelp charges a standard fee of $60 to $90 per week or $240 to $360 per month.

You can apply for financial help on the payment page. You will also be awarded a discount if you meet the requirements. Moreover, You will be invoiced every four weeks and will pay for one month at a time.

BetterHelp Physical Therapy

$60 to $90 per week 

(One live session per week)

CBT Therapy

$100 and $200 a session

$240 to $360 per month

Get 15% on

ERP-Trained Therapist

$350 to $500 each session


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What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, is an anxiety-inducing mental condition. Obsessions are uncontrolled in people with OCD. They use compulsions, which are repetitive acts, to try to reduce anxiety. OCD is a distressing condition that interferes with daily living. Medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy can assist.

Obsessions and compulsions affect everyone at some time in their lives. OCD is a common condition that affects roughly 1 out of 40 people.

It affects people of all ethnicities, origins, and gender. It generally begins in childhood and continues throughout early adulthood.

Symptoms of OCD

Obsessions and compulsions that interfere with regular tasks are indicators of OCD. Symptoms, for example, might make it difficult to go to work on time. A person with OCD may be aware that they have a problem, but they are unable to overcome it.

Many individuals with OCD are aware that their excessive or irrational ideas, urges, or visions are a product of their minds. The anguish created by these intrusive ideas, cannot be alleviated by logic or reasoning.

Many OCD patients try to distract themselves from their obsessions by performing compulsions, ignoring, or suppressing their obsessions.

Excessive responses that are directly tied to an obsession or acts that are wholly unrelated to the fixation are both examples of compulsions.

Some common examples include: frequently washing hands, checking locks repeatedly, obsession with order, or even obsession with a person.

Treatment for OCD

If you are experiencing OCD symptoms that are interfering with your everyday life, you should seek medical help. You can either opt for CBT or ERP treatment.

CBT stands for cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it is a sort of psychotherapy. You will meet with a therapist who will assist you in examining and comprehending your ideas and feelings. This therapy can help you break harmful patterns and replace them with better coping mechanisms over the course of several sessions.

In ERP therapy, you perform the triggers that create anxiety in you. The therapist then intervenes to prevent you from acting compelled.

To support the work of the people working on, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Looking for a specialist?
Get matched with an ERD or CBT  therapist.

What is CBT?

Psychiatrist Aaron Beck noticed in the 1960s that the patients he assisted with depression had certain thought patterns that did not benefit them.

He used a cognitive paradigm to describe emotional states. According to him, thought processing affects people’s emotions and behavior by influencing how they see themselves, others, and their surroundings.

CBT focuses on thoroughly understanding a client’s present state of mind, actions, and finding out patterns that may be leading to the difficulties they are facing.

It is a systematic method of treatment that teaches individuals to the impact of their thoughts on their actions and how to change these habits.

Working with your therapist to understand the thinking patterns that are causing your suffering is an important part of CBT. This is a crucial stage in dealing with overwhelming emotions and negative actions.

Many people believe that therapy is simply talking to a doctor, but CBT is quite organized and personalized to each individual. You will learn strategies to recognize and fight negative beliefs, as well as alleviate symptoms over time.

Because CBT is a team effort, it is critical to feel at ease with and connected to your therapist. Do not be hesitant to visit with numerous therapists until you find one you like.

After you have answered all of the fundamental questions, set your objectives and recognized any erroneous thinking patterns. Your therapist may help you choose the best ways for assessing and adjusting those thoughts.

Be ready to do some homework as well. Out-of-session work, such as self-reflection activities, behavioral exercises, and readings, is common in CBT.

How Can CBT Help with OCD?

CBT is an umbrella name for a variety of evidence-based therapies based on the premise that how a person thinks and behaves affects how they feel and that all three of these factors interact in a cyclical manner.

This therapy is used to treat a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders, among others. The treatment is designed to be short-term and focuses on a person’s current situation.

Patients will acquire practical techniques to control their anxiety as well as address the basic ideas that are driving their decisions throughout CBT. CBT teaches the patient practical techniques to help them deal with their situation more effectively.

The objective is for the patient to learn how to modify their ideas and actions and to have the required abilities to eventually become their own therapist.

When it comes to OCD, this treatment can enhance compulsions by offering comfort. Many people who suffer from OCD want reassurance in order to alleviate the worry caused by their intrusive thoughts.

When reassurance is employed as a compulsion, the patient will feel better for a short time, but it will not help them manage their OCD in the long run.

For persons with OCD, several of the tactics employed in CBT to assist people to confront their thoughts or manage unpleasant feelings might become obsessive routines.

erp vs cbt for ocd

What is ERP?

It is a type of cognitive-behavioral treatment that was created to help patients suffering from OCD, PTSD, or phobias.

ERP, also known as exposure treatment, was created to assist patients with OCD in learning to recognize and manage their triggers.

The method involves exposing patients to a variety of scenarios in order to elicit their obsessions, allowing them to practice preventing compulsive reactions in a safe and controlled setting.

ERP’s ultimate objective is to release people from obsessive cycles and compulsions, allowing them to live more peacefully.

Instead of avoiding anxiety-provoking events, they pursue them, which is exposure. When they do approach anxiety-provoking situations, they also stop participating in obsessive behaviors.

ERP treatment can be difficult since it requires you to confront your anxieties and put yourself in circumstances you have avoided.

This treatment has a track record of treating persons with OCD. It has been reported to be beneficial for 70 percent of OCD patients.

How Can ERP Help with OCD?

ERP therapy is a perfect fit for treating OCD since it addresses your obsessions and compulsions in a focused manner.

An ERP therapist would not soothe patients by presenting rational reasons against their worries of contamination. Someone with OCD is likely to be aware of every logical explanation and to have attempted unsuccessfully to talk themselves out of their anxieties.

When compared with CBT, ERP treatment adopts the opposite strategy. You accept your obsessive ideas rather than trying to stop them with comfort.

The theory behind ERP therapy is that the most effective method to treat OCD is to expose yourself to these ideas. When you indulge in compulsions like reassurance on a regular basis, it merely reinforces your need to accomplish them in the future.

Moreover, when you stop yourself from indulging in your compulsions, you teach yourself a different way to respond.

During ERP therapy, you will engage with a therapist to create a hierarchy of concerns and related exposures, which you will go through progressively. One of the most significant aspects of this treatment is the response prevention component.

Working on response prevention can help people with OCD learn to respond differently to the items that trigger obsessive behaviors, allowing them to train themselves to not respond to obsessions over time.

People who learn to resist their compulsions eventually find methods to accept and work with their obsessions rather than fighting them.

Difference Between CBT vs ERP

CBT therapies entail working with a therapist to address and modify both cognitive and behavioral patterns.

It’s popular psychotherapy for teaching patients how to cope with difficulties in order to minimize or eliminate symptoms. On the other hand, ERP therapy is a type of CBT. Despite their similarities, ERP and CBT are not the same things.

CBT is a broad term that encompasses a variety of therapeutic approaches. ERP is one sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy. There are several types of CBT that work well for different patients.

You can learn more on our articles Psychodynamic Therapy vs CBT & CBT vs DBT.

Which is The Best for OCD?

CBT encompasses a wide range of cognitive and behavioral treatment techniques. ERP, on the other hand, is a sort of CBT that was created to help people with OCD.

As a result, CBT and ERP both are technically correct therapies for OCD. However, it is safe to say that Exposure Response Prevention is useful in the treatment of OCD, as evidenced by research.

If you or someone you care about is looking for a therapist for OCD, it is advisable to look for someone who is knowledgeable with CBT, in general, and ERP, in particular.

Your therapist will be able to determine whether ERP is required and whether they have the ability to give it or if you need to be referred to another practitioner.


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