Due to the COVID-19 crisis, all clients are currently being seen through teletherapy (phone or videoconferencing).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment in Reston VA
Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
We have treated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for over two decades. We keep up with the scientific literature, devote considerable energy toward understanding the unique aspects of each client’s OCD, and frequently engage in peer consultation with other experts.
CBT treatment for OCD is extensively studied and is an evidence-based approach. Support for CBT’s treatment for OCD appears in a number of top-tier psychological journals.
We are long-time full members of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (ABCT). Our participation in these organizations has helped refine our skills in treating OCD and we have attending numerous professional meetings and workshops. As university professors, we have taught a great many clinical psychology doctoral students how to treat this problem.
Individuals with OCD experience obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are disturbing intrusive thoughts. The disturbing thoughts are experienced as excessive or nonsensical and can be about almost anything (e.g., contamination, leaving the stove on or doors unlocked, harming others, etc.).
Compulstions are behaviors or rituals that people feel compelled to perform in order to reduce anxiety (usually about an obsession). Common compulsions include excessive washing, checking, counting, or repeating certain phrases to oneself (e.g., “clean” thoughts). OCD can be a severe condition, consuming several hours a day, and significantly impairing one’s day-to-day functioning.
Our Approach for OCD
Our primary approach to OCD is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP involves gradual therapeutic exposure to feared stimuli (e.g., a situation in which an individual fears contamination) combined with decreasing the compulsions (or rituals) that are completed in an attempt to feel safe.
According to the American Psychological Association, ERP is the most widely studied treatment for OCD and has the strongest support in the scientific literature. Exposure is always done gradually, thoughtfully, and at a pace that is agreed upon with the client.
Exposure is not begun until a trusting therapeutic relationship has been established. When done properly, compassionately, and in a collaborative manner, exposure has a number of therapeutic benefits. It builds confidence to confront previously feared situations, increases tolerance to anxiety, and, can disconfirm erroneous OCD-generated predictions.
The experience of a successful set of exposures competes with the idea that the feared situations are intolerable and that compulsions must be performed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Northern Virginia
1800 Michael Faraday Drive, Suite 206
Reston, VA 20190
(one block east of the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station)