An Introduction to Exposure Therapy

Sydney Lewis, Senior

     Exposure Therapy was born in August of 2019 in Burlington, Vermont. The summer before senior year I traveled with the Experiment in International Living Leadership Institute South Africa, a program that gave me the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., South Africa, Mozambique, and Vermont. With 14 other seniors who came from diverse backgrounds working in various social justice issues, we learned about Apartheid, spoke with local activists, and participated in homestays and language training. At the end of the 5 week experience, we spent a week in Vermont brainstorming and planning projects to implement in our community. 

     The name Exposure Therapy came from a close person to me who I met during the Experiment. Giving students a platform to express their concerns is therapeutic in that they are able to articulate feelings that they couldn’t previously. For readers being exposed to the students’ experiences, they are able to confront the role they play in the school.

     For my project, I performed a needs assessment of our communities and chose to focus on EPHS. I planned to use my position as Editor-In-Chief of the Eyrie to give students voice in a way they never had before. We began publishing student testimonies in September. Every day for the first month of school, I began my day by walking into the Main Office and giving a testimony to Mr. Virgin. At first, we were concerned that people wouldn’t want to share, but we found that when given a platform, students want to be heard. Each person was given the prompt, “How does your identity impact the way you are treated in school?” These testimonies are honest, genuine, and real. 

     As you read, consider your own identities and how you contribute to the identity of EPHS. Let these experiences inform you and shape how you treat people in your life.