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J Clin Psychol. 2004 Nov;60(11):1181-94.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for children who have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively chronic and impairing disorder in children and adolescents. Whereas childhood OCD was largely ignored in the past, major advances in the identification and treatment over the past 20 years have led to a significant upsurge in the prevalence of youngsters seeking treatment for this problem. The present article describes the use of exposure-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of childhood OCD. Although the phenomenology of OCD is largely consistent across the age span, traditional adult CBT approaches have been modified for use with children and adolescents in order to address those developmental differences that do exist. The case example describes the use of CBT for a child who has OCD and highlights these developmental considerations, including age-appropriate techniques to address family involvement in the disorder and the impact of symptoms on the psychosocial functioning of the patient.

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