Exposure-Based Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Steven Taylor and Dean McKay

in The Oxford Handbook of Obsessive Compulsive and Spectrum Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195376210
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Exposure-Based Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is one of the oldest and most effective treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder. The present chapter describes the empirical foundations, development, delivery, and latest research on ERP. Commonly used methods and procedural variants of ERP are described, along with findings concerning the underlying mechanisms of action. The efficacy of ERP in relation to other treatments is discussed, in addition to research on the long-term effects of ERP and its effects in non-research settings. Pretreatment predictors of the outcome of treatments using ERP are also considered. Efforts to improve treatment outcome are discussed, including research into the benefits of combining ERP with other psychosocial interventions such as cognitive therapy, or with particular medications. The chapter concludes by considering important future research directions for improving the outcome of treatment packages that include ERP.

Keywords: cognitive therapy; D-cycloserine; emotional processing; exposure and response prevention; fear extinction; obsessive compulsive disorder; serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Article.  16566 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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