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Behavioral Wellness Clinic

MENTAL HEALTH & COUNSELING SERVICES IN CONNECTICUT AND ONLINE


Effective Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

hand washing

Exposure and Ritual Prevention

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and improves quality of life by modifying emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. CBT focuses on solutions, encouraging individuals to challenge distorted thoughts (“cognitive therapy”) and change problematic patterns of behavior (“behavioral therapy”).

Currently, exposure and ritual/response prevention (EX/RP) is the most effective type of CBT treatment for OCD. In fact, EX/RP is the most effective treatment period — even more effective than medication — which is why we use it at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic. Exposure is the cornerstone of EX/RP treatment and has been scientifically shown to reduce obsessions and related distress in multiple research studies and randomized clinical trials. This technique involves gradual, repeated, and prolonged confrontation with situations that cause anxiety until the anxiety fades away.

The ritual or response prevention component involves learning how to stop compulsions or rituals. This is important because people with OCD often think that the compulsions prevent the occurrence of a feared outcome. Only by stopping the compulsions do clients learn that rituals do not protect them from their obsessional concerns.

Don't Be Fooled

Not all treatments for OCD are equal, and some don't work at all...

It can be hard for the average consumer to know what therapy is best for OCD. We have been troubled by the number of unscrupulous charlatans promoting expensive snake oil to suffering people in Connecticut. Beware of quacks and frauds offering treatments for OCD that don't work.

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Here are a few of these unproven OCD treatments :

Neurofeedback

Individuals with OCD are especially prone to overthinking or repetitive thinking, which results in increased activity in certain parts of the brain. As a result, some clinicians have theorized that neurofeedback can reduce these overactive brain waves to retrain the brain and thereby reduce obsessions and compulsions. Don’t be fooled. This is simply nonsense.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique where individuals learn how to modify their physiology to improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Patients learn to voluntarily control what were once thought to be involuntary body processes. Although helpful for some conditions like female incontinence and ADHD, there is no research showing it works as an independent treatment for OCD.

Other Useless Treatments

Traditional talk therapy, supportive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, relaxation exercises, yoga, tapping, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), hypnosis, somatic therapy, play therapy, art therapy, and music therapy, are all useless as stand-alone treatments for OCD. However, these may improve overall well-being in other ways unrelated to OCD. Also, play or art therapy may be integrated into effective CBT therapies for children.

What Therapies work? CBT!

The only scientifically proven psychotherapies for OCD are a few specific cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT). These include exposure and ritual prevention (described above), cognitive therapy, and to a lesser degree, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Effective OCD requires a high level of expertise. Make sure your OCD provider has specialized training in the treatment of this disorder.

References

Rodriguez, C. I., Bloch, M., Sachs, R., & Williams, M. T. (2015, June). Practice Guidelines: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Williams, M., Powers, M., & Foa, E. (2012). Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Chapter 16. In P. Sturmey & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Psychology, Vol. 2 (pp. 313-335). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 978-0470335468.

BEHAVIORAL WELLNESS CLINIC

392 MERROW RD, SUITE E
TOLLAND, CT 06084
OFFICE: (860) 830-7838
FAX: (860) 454-0667

 
CLINICAL DIRECTOR: MONNICA WILLIAMS, PHD
OFFICE MANAGER: JASMINE FAIRFAX
BUSINESS MANAGER: MATTHEW JAHN

 
FRONT DESK PHONE HOURS
M: 12 noon - 3:00 pm
Tu: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
W: 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
F: 8:30 am - 3:00 pm