Treatment Recommendations for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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There are several highly effective psychotherapies for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The usual approach is some combination of the above-mentioned types of cognitive and behavioral therapies. In general, the gold standard is considered to be ERP coupled with cognitive therapy. Acceptance and commitment therapy is actually considered a hybrid of traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. Although the approaches and goals are somewhat different, it is an effective alternative to traditional cognitive-behavioral methods.


Studies have demonstrated that people improve when behavioral exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), OR cognitive therapy, are delivered alone (Emmelkamp, Visser, & Hoekstra, 1988). Other studies suggest the combination of these two techniques appears to be the most effective method (Abramowitz, Taylor, & McKay, 2005). Improvement rates in the literature vary from 40% to 97%, but 50% is a conservative estimate.

Usually psychotherapy is enhanced by the addition of several different adjunct therapies. The specific selection of additional therapies is determined by individual needs and circumstances. These additional therapies are:

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