Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been treated, for decades, with special medicine and psychoanalysis. Consistently though, neither have had a major impact when treating OCD patients. Recently, large strides have been made treating OCD patients with CBT, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. This has been largely beneficial for patients that combined cognitive-behavioral therapy with medication, but major progress has been seen with patients no longer taking medication also.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is much more proactive than traditional psychotherapy. In traditional psychotherapy, patients spend countless hours merely discussing problems. With CBT, the patient and the therapist take much more active roles in determining problems and creating a detailed, concrete list of the patient's symptoms. The assessment is done using the YBOCS - Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale as well as several other assessment tools.
Once the list of known symptoms is available and agreed upon by both patient and psychotherapist, it is used within the behavioral therapy called ERP-Exposure and Response Prevention. Also known as Exposure Therapy, the symptom list is used to exposure the patient to various fears, beginning with the least anxiety-provoking symptoms and continuing to the more difficult ones. Additionally, the patient is given "homework" between sessions that are uniquely designed for each individual patient and are an essential portion of the treatment for OCD. The "homework" assignments can assist the patient and be performed at home, work, in public, etc. and then easily re-created in the therapist's office. This new avenue of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has also shown success with several other anxiety disorders ranging from Hypochondria, Panic Disorder and a myriad of other known phobias.
Another facet of cognitive-behavioral therapy is a related therapy of ERP, commonly referred to as Imaginal Exposure. This facet of the CBT uses audiotaped short stories which allow the patient to experience virtual exposure to their feared symptoms. When, combined with other cognitive-behavioral techniques, ERP has shown to produce a greatly lowered frequency and magnitude of obsessions, as well as decreasing the patient's repose and sensitivity.
A great many patients with OCD that have prescribed to this new behavioral approach also have shown majorly reduced symptoms when accompanied with specific medications. But,the pharmacotherapy is recommended to continue along with a complete regimen of CBT. Numerous research studies have shown that CBT if much more advanced that the earlier psychotherapy alone and it continues to grow as the best treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.