Archives for the month of: April, 2012

To individuals who are considering embarking on the difficult process of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which includes exposure and response prevention (ERP), it is strongly recommended that therapy should not be taken in small doses; ambivalence and looking for a quick fix are not a winning formula.

CBT  is a time limited intervention aimed at reducing the symptoms of OCD. It is an evidenced based treatment and the current scientific evidence suggests that it is most effective form of treatment for OCD. Some studies suggests between a 60% and an 80% effectiveness in reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life of individuals suffering from OCD. CBT briefly involves challenging thought processes and behaviours that support a high frequency, intensity and duration of negative emotional states.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) has been firmly established as the treatment of choice, as a sub-treatment of CBT, for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP involves systematically confronting images, thoughts, circumstances, objects and situations that trigger or involve OCD symptoms. This is done to help the client’s brain to re-learn and habituate to these fear or distressing triggers.

However, the dropout rates in doing ERP, have required reconsideration of other additional techniques. It can be very difficult for someone to do ERP, as it initially can produce high levels of anxiety. In the short to medium term it does eventually reduce discomfort, build mastery and improve self efficacy. Most individuals doing ERP receive a benefit.

However for some of those people who do receive benefit, a portion of the presenting OC symptoms remain, often necessitating further treatment. Newer cognitive-behavioral approaches that focus on challenging OCD appraisals and beliefs have been proposed as additions to traditional ERP. These appear to compliment and enhance the effectiveness of ERP. One such CBT treatment that is being used with ERP is mindfulness . Mindfulness techniques teach the client to manage and cope better with the negative intrusive thoughts and uncomfortable negative emotional states.

For more information on CBT treatments for OCD visit:

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More to come in OCD treatments….


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has often been described as a secret illness. Individuals often find their obsessions and compulsions embarrassing and very difficult to talk about. Being in a group offers a means to normalize these uncomfortable feelings and emotions. The group can provide a safe environment to explore and discuss obsessions and fears and learn from others how to manage their difficulties. The group can also be a great place to practice exposures and can be a therapeutic environment as well as a supportive environment.

For more information on the OCD support group in Cape Town visit: