The use of mindfulness in obsessive compulsive disorder: suggestions for its application and integration in existing treatment

Clin Psychol Psychother. Jan-Feb 2008;15(1):53-9. doi: 10.1002/cpp.557.


Treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a standard activity of psychologists, particularly those in Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT). In 2005, NICE published guidelines recommending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with Exposure and Response Prevention (ER-P) as the evidence-based psychological treatments of choice. In recent years there have been significant developments within cognitive behavioural theory, including what has been referred to as the 'Third Wave'. This paper explores the contribution of mindfulness; a practice that has previously been integrated into other CBT models of treatment, to cognitive interventions in OCD, suggesting that in complements both CBT and ER-However it had previously been suggested by Freeston that mindfulness may prevent successful ER-P by becoming a neutralising technique. Examples of the application of a mindfulness-based approach are explored (MOCD), including reference to an OCD group run by the author, and areas of potential overlap are identified, in particular thought-action Fusion. It is concluded that if applied properly, mindfulness not only complements traditional CBT interventions, but could also increase their efficacy and perhaps prevent relapse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*