Current research indicates that behavioral therapy can be as effective as medicine for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).6 But you and your doctor will need to decide whether you will be treated only with therapy or with therapy in addition to medicine.
Types of counseling that have proved effective in treating OCD include:
- Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy in which you repeatedly expose yourself to an obsession, such as something you fear is contaminated, and deny yourself the ritual compulsive act, which in this case may be washing your hands.
- Cognitive therapy may also be used to help overcome the faulty beliefs (such as fear of contamination) that lead to OCD behaviors.
You and your loved ones may choose to go to family therapy. During family therapy, the counselor teaches the family about the condition, offers them support, and gives them suggestions on how to help you with OCD. Family therapy may be very important for other family members who are having difficulty coping with the effects of your illness.