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Thursday, February 16, 2006

What is Graduated Exposure Therapy?

From Wikipedia (edited for emphasis) :
A highly effective treatment which involves slowly and incrementally increasing a patient's exposure to a feared situation.

Such therapy would typically begin with a low-intensity exposure to feared situation....and gradually derive small steps of increasing intensity until the goal situation can be comfortably faced by the patient...

Graduated Exposure Therapy for Shy Bladder

Even if you have a chronic case of Shy Bladder you will be able to urinate somewhere under the right conditions. This might be the one "safe" bathroom at home or it might be in an empty public restroom.

Graduated Exposure Therapy means identifying a "next step" to take, a challenge that you might expect to be difficult but which you feel is do-able.

Going it alone

Graduated Exposure Therapy is something that you can do on your own and my experience shows that you can make significant progress this way. However, you do not have to face it alone. Having a so-called pee-buddy help you will significantly speed up your progress. There are also support groups run the International Paruresis Association that can help you work with Graduated Exposure Therapy.

When I started my program I was only able to go while sitting down in a stall. My condition was better than some, I could go if others were in the stalls beside me if they weren't too quiet.

Start from where you are

Like any journey, you have to start where you are. Taking back the parts of your life that Shy Bladder has taken from you might take many small steps. Each might seem inconsequential but each one is a victory.

The first step in my recovery was to try to use a stall away from the urinals, with the door closed but standing up. Standing up! It was a micro-step but you can make great progress with only micro-steps if you're persistent. Currently, I can use the Urinal when someone else is also using the urinal (in the right conditions). I'm not cured yet but I am winning, I am taking back my life!

Next steps

What could you do today to progress?

Please think about one other thing, step zero : If you have a partner, tell them about your condition. Read why I think this is so important.

Further reading :

Read my latest progress on how Graduated Exposure Therapy is working for me.

Read more about Graduated Exposure Therapy at Wikipedia.

Can you really be cured from Shy Bladder?

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