Research has shown that 75% of people with OCD are significantly helped by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Rather than just riding out their anxiety in the feared situation (as in ERP), it goes further by testing out the sufferer's belief that they could ultimately be responsible for harm by not checking or performing their rituals. Group therapy (with people who have similar concerns) can also help. For example, if the person who fears contamination responds to the anxiety by engaging in hand-washing or cleaning rituals, he or she would be required to increasingly resist such activities - first for hours, and then days following an exposure task. If you decide to delay, then you can use this sheet: Delay, Distract, Decide or Distract your attention. Many people with OCD benefit from supportive counselling in addition to treatments aimed at reducing the symptoms of OCD. They will be asked to go into a lot of detail, and try and understand what thought(s) (or doubts, images or urges) popped into their head at this time. To mark progress during exposure tasks with the therapist and in homework, patients are trained to be experts in rating their own anxiety levels.
Effective CBT leads to habituation where the person with OCD will learn that nothing bad happens when they stop performing their compulsive rituals. The short-term side effects consist of anxiety and distress, but these will gradually decrease and, in the long term, the fear will subside. Thoughts of leaving the house with the stove on, for example, can result in a debilitating anxiety that sends the person running back to check again and again. Wash the dishes. (1991). The therapy continues in this manner until the patient is able to abstain from ritual activities altogether. THINKING DIFFERENTLY Involves challenging the thoughts and thinking about thoughts in a completely different way.
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