How to get started with gradual exposure

I’m just wondering how to get started with gradual exposure as I’ve seen on other posts about a hierarchy which seems to be a plan of sorts so you can make sure you are peeing in the right situation and not using bathrooms that are too high up your hierarchy, I have a pee buddy that i can get started with but how do i get started in public. I can pee in a cubicle with the door locked when it’s not too busy but the biggest killer for me is silence and thinking people are looking at my feet from the next cubicle when they’re sitting down as I’m standing up and so need a buffer of one cubicle. Does anyone have any advice on how to proceed? Thanks

#13 by Ben

HI Ben. If you read stuff under Way Forward, you will find out that it is common and acceptable for guys to use a cubicle for peeing. And they make no secret of it, letting the door swing open, and peeing loudly into the water. Some guys just say"I'm a cubicle guy". No big deal. When you get to using urinals, especially in busier places, you will see a lot of that. So I hope that takes away some of your concern.
If it does, and you can start a hierarchy in a cubicle, your next step would be to leave the door unlocked. The fear then is of someone coming in, and challenging you. Well in reality if they do, they mumble "sorry mate" and immediately step back and go to another cubicle.
Net step is to leave the door ajar. That probably seems impossible at present: but the power of gradual desensing is that when you get to that level, it will be no more anxiety making than the first step was.
Does that help?


#14 by andrew

Hi Andrew,
Would I need to get used to peeing with people next to me first before I leave the door unlocked and if so how do I gradual desensitise to that, do I just go to a public bathroom with someone occupying the next cubicle and just try to pee and if not just keep on trying? I can't seem to figure out how the hierarchies of challenge works, do I work on each one at a time or find a bathroom that has several challenges? Thanks

#15 by Ben

Ben, could you go to the menu item The Way Forward, select Components of a CBT based Approach, and read all of it. There is a lot there, all relevant, but it would help you to take it all on board first. See if it answers your questions. Andrew

#16 by andrew

I read all of it earlier when you mentioned it but I don't understand how the hierarchies of challenges translate to a public bathroom as you're supposed to work on one hierarchy at a time but a public bathroom will inherently have multiple hierarchies so how can I control certain challenges, do I just try and find a bathroom that has the least challenges and go from there?

#17 by Ben

Hi Ben
I think it best for you to mimic what we do on the workshops. Go back to a domestic toilet with your buddy. Using three anxiety triggers: a range of proximity of the buddy, state of the toilet or bathroom door (locked, closed, cracked open, ajar) and noise (radio, TV, Hi-fi), select a combination that you know you can pee in. Do that to prove you are comfortable. Now change one of the triggers a little, in order or create a small amount of challenge. Practice at that level until it becomes comfortable. Now make a second change. The aim is to get to where the door is fully open, your buddy is standing in the door with his back to you, and you can do it when quiet, and when talking. This may sound impossible from where you are now, but approached in small steps, it is really possible. It happens reliably on the workshops. At that point look for a public toilet that is spacious and not busy. If daunted by a urinal, start off in a cubicle knowing you have already cracked that at home. To ease the transition, you can “fake”: that is where you decide not to pee, so you can get used to the environment without the anxiety of trying to pee. You can repeat faking several times till it feels better, then introduce peeing.

#19 by andrew
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