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Behav Res Ther. 1995 Nov;33(8):887-96.

Inference processes in obsessive-compulsive disorder: some clinical observations.

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Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


In this paper we outline a cognitive model of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which proposes that the core belief of OCD evolves through a series of illogical inferences. These faulty inference processes involve inferring the plausibility of events on the basis of irrelevant associations, dismissing actual evidence on the grounds of going beyond surface reality to a deeper reality, and finally inferring that a completely fictional narrative is a remote probability. A therapy aimed specifically at changing these inference processes is illustrated with case examples of OCD clients who had not benefited from conventional behavior therapy. The inference based approach (IBA) complements existing cognitive-behavioral therapy but suggests that in certain cases, the conventional cognitive therapy view of OCD beliefs as exaggerated fears of remote possibilities may actually reinforce the obsessional belief since even remote events are real. The IBA on the contrary suggests that an important goal in therapy is to highlight this confusion found in OCD between imagination and reality and illuminate for the OCD client how their compulsions, far from reassuring them about a remote possibility, actually take them further away from reality and reinforce their imaginary doubt.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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