Describe and Evaluate Cognitive Treatments for Ocd

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The cognitive explanation for OCD starts from the observation that everybody at some time has undesirable thoughts that they would be ashamed to admit (e.g. most of us worry at times about touching something dirty). The theory suggests that people with OCD have a ‘cognitive bias’, irrational thought patters. The cognitive therapy for OCD helps the individual change their irrational thinking by encouraging them to use counter-statements in order to reverse negative, irrational thinking. For example ‘if the worst happened is it true that I would not be able to handle it?’, this would enable negative and irrational thoughts to be dispelled. Cognitive therapy alone only addresses the obsessive component of the disorder, not the compulsion component. However, when used alongside behavioural therapies (it is then known as CBT) it is found a fairly effective method of treating OCD. Graziano and Mooney demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT; 17 children with a fear of the dark were taught self-relaxation techniques, self-reinforcement and to recite brave self-statements. This group was compared to a group with no treatment. The results showed that the CBT treated group of children showed significant improvement in their fear of the dark, which was maintained over three years, therefore demonstrating CBT’s effectiveness to treat OCD. However, although CBT is successful Graziano and Mooney could not identify which is the most effective factor (self-relaxation/ self-reinforcement/ reciting brave self-statements). An advantage of cognitive treatments for OCD is that CBT can be carried out outside the therapeutic environment, and therefore can continue to be developed. Another advantage of cognitive treatments for OCD is that there is lots of empirical evidence to support cognitive therapy, which is increased when combined with behavioural treatments for OCD. However, a
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