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Emotional Processing Theory

Emotional processing theory (EPT) is a cognitively based approach for explaining maladaptive fear responses. It has been applied in the conceptualization of how anxiety-based mental health disorders manifest. Consequently, EPT has been used as a foundation to develop a number of evidence-based treatments to systematically treat anxiety disorders. Prolonged exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety disorders is the most notable of the treatments that are based on EPT. According to EPT, the aim of therapy is to reorganize the individual’s “pathological” perception of the fear-inducing stimuli.

Edna B. Foa and Michael J. Kozak first introduced EPT in their 1986 article “Emotional Processing of Fear: Exposure to Corrective Information.” However, EPT has theoretically descended from Peter J. Lang’s theories of the bioinformational ...

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