For some people it is helpful to look at underlying factors that lead up to the behaviour, for others this is not relevant. During the sessions, we look at ways to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.
One very effective treatment for OCD is the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) involving graded exposure and response prevention (ERP). This form of therapy encourages individuals to face their fear and let the obsessive thoughts occur without acting out their attendant compulsions, which are action people employ to find way of neutralising the initial anxiety. This method requires motivation and can be difficult and challenging. For this reason we begin therapeutic treatment by looking at situations that cause the least amount of anxiety first, gradually moving onto more stressful scenarios as each level is overcome.
Exposure exercises need to take place several times a day, and specifically need to be done without engaging in the attendant compulsions used to undo them. Although this may sound frightening at first, people with OCD find that when they confront their anxiety without carrying out their compulsion, the anxiety does eventually diminish or go away altogether. Each time the anxiety presents itself, it is likely to be less intense and last for a shorter periods of time. Once you have conquered one exposure task, we can move on to a more difficult task. This can be repeated until you have overcome all of the situations that have been making you anxious.
How long it takes to gain meaningful reduction is different for every individual. For some a noticeable effect takes place as soon as they have the tools to use, for others it can take several months before a treatment has a noticeable effect. For people with mild to moderate OCD usually
some effect is felt when they are able to put to use what they have discovered during their therapy session. Most people have a noticeable effect after 7 – 10 hours of therapist treatment, combined with exercises done at home between sessions. For those with a more intense level of OCD it will possibly need a longer duration of treatment.