"Baby Steps"

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Many people have successfully used “Baby Steps” to overcome agoraphobia.  

Start by making up a hierarchy of steps, leading up to an outing you would like to do on your own.  Start with a short-term goal, and then create a series of "baby steps" leading up to that goal.

Here’s an example to illustrate the idea:  Let’s suppose your short-term goal is to go to a park by yourself, and the park is a mile away.  The first step could be walking three doors down the block by yourself.  The second step could be walking halfway down the block by yourself. The third step could be walking a block with a friend.  The fourth step could be walking a block by yourself.  The idea is that each step is a little more of a challenge than the last step.

Choose a time when you feel pretty relaxed to start building your hierarchy.  Start with a step you can do pretty easily.  Then, make each step a little more difficult than the last.  Use your creativity.

When you have built your hierarchy, you can begin your outings – which is called “practicing” – starting with the first step.  Repeat step #1 until it becomes pretty easy.  Then, go on to step 2.  The best way to practice is to do an outing on your hierarchy almost every day.  6 days a week is ideal, 4 days a week is good. 

When anxiety comes up during your practice, use your cognitive techniques.  Repeat each step until you can do it with fairly low anxiety, then go on to the next step.  You can modify or even re-design your hierarchy as you go along.  And – appreciate your successes!

 

Use your cognitive techniques during practicing

 


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