An update on the efficacy of psychological treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults

K. Ponniah, I. Magiati, S. D. Hollon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a review to provide an update on the efficacy of psychological treatments for OCD in general and with regard to specific symptom presentations. The PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published up to mid February 2012. Forty-five such studies were identified. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) were found to be efficacious and specific for OCD. More purely cognitive interventions that did not include ERP or behavioral experiments were found to be possibly efficacious, as were Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing as an adjunct to the established treatments, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and Satiation Therapy. There was little support for Stress Management or Psychodynamic Therapy. Although the majority of the studies recruited mixed or unspecified samples of patients and did not test for moderation, CBT was efficacious for obsessional patients who lacked overt rituals. One more purely cognitive intervention named Danger Ideation Reduction Therapy was found to be possibly efficacious for patients with contamination obsessions and washing compulsions. Although ERP and CBT are the best established psychological treatments for OCD, further research is needed to help elucidate which treatments are most effective for different OCD presentations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'An update on the efficacy of psychological treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this