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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2010;12(2):199-207.

Cognitive behavioral therapy of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Until the mid-1960s, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was considered to be treatment-resistant, as both psychodynamic psychotherapy and medication had been unsuccessful in significantly reducing OCD symptoms. The first real breakthrough came in 1966 with the introduction of exposure and ritual prevention. This paper will discuss the cognitive behavioral conceptualizations that influenced the development of cognitive behavioral treatments for OCD. There will be a brief discussion of the use of psychodynamic psychotherapy and early behavioral therapy, neither of which produced successful outcomes with OCD. The main part of the paper will be devoted to current cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on variants of exposure and ritual or response prevention (EX/RP) treatments, the therapy that has shown the most empirical evidence of its efficacy.

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