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OCD & Exposure and Response Prevention

The nature of OCD calls for a type of therapy that can meet its needs while providing relief from the fear of the thoughts, Exposure and Response Prevention or EX/RP can be that therapy. Read more about it here: EX/RP is backed by evidence and is often labeled the gold standard for treatment of OCD, which I agree with. However, it can be hard for individuals to find their way to EX/RP whether it is a lack of trained therapists in their area, incorrect diagnosis from current or previous therapists, lack of referral to EX/RP when needed, or maybe the intrusive thoughts are so strong that it feels no therapy can help.

Some forms of talk therapy may increase the severity of obsessive and compulsive behaviors and leave people looking for help feeling more lost than before. An article in The Atlantic, by Olga Khazan ( outlined the difficulties of finding care for OCD, including that often therapists try to treat OCD like they would depression or anxiety but again, this often reinforces the intrusive thoughts leading to increase in behaviors that try to manage the distress. It is not from lack of trying or wanting things to be different, OCD needs the EX/RP approach with its insightfulness, foundation in research and testimonials, and hopefulness.

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