Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common condition associated with unwanted thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) and repeated behaviours aimed at reducing anxiety or preventing danger (compulsions). Examples of common obsessions include intrusions concerning contamination, doubting one’s actions or experiences, aggressive thoughts, religious thoughts, and sexual thoughts. Common compulsions include excessive washing, checking, and counting, as well as repeated actions, words, thoughts, phrases, or prayers. People with OCD also typically avoid situations, objects, or mental experiences that trigger their anxiety and intrusions. This workshop will provide an overview of effective strategies for treating OCD.
This presentation will include a detailed discussion of exposure and response prevention – the gold standard behavioral treatment for OCD. Participants will learn how to plan exposure practices, including presenting the treatment rationale and developing an effective exposure hierarchy. Best practices in exposure therapy will be discussed, including the latest recommendations based on inhibitory learning approaches. Strategies for preventing compulsive rituals will also be discussed. Some of the questions that will be answered include: What’s the difference between an OCD ritual and a helpful coping strategy? When it comes to exposure therapy, how far is too far? Can exposure make someone’s anxiety worse? What is the best way to structure exposure practices? How does one adapt exposure practices during a pandemic?
Participants will also learn about effective cognitive strategies for OCD, including how to help client to identify cognitive targets for intervention, and why it is important to help clients to challenge meta-cognitions rather than their intrusions and obsessional thoughts. Participants will learn about the cognitive model of OCD and how to use a variety of cognitive strategies, such as experiments, thought records, and surveys to change OCD-related thinking. Some of the questions that will be answered include: When using cognitive strategies, how can I avoid providing reassurance in a way that helps to maintain the OCD? How can I develop a cognitive case formulation for my client’s OCD? What is “thought-action fusion?”
In addition, participants will learn how to distinguish OCD from related problems, including obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, anxiety disorders, and disorders associated with impulsivity. They will also learn about current approaches to understanding OCD, including what causes and maintains OCD over time. Evidence-based approaches to OCD assessment will also be discussed. The workshop will also discuss key treatment decisions and modalities (e.g., group vs. individual treatment; combining psychological treatment with medication; intensive treatments; clinician-supported self-help, culturally adapted CBT for OCD). Mindfulness, and acceptance-based approaches will also be discussed. Finally, methods for enhancing motivation and engagement will be reviewed. Participants will receive a detailed list of resources.