Cognitive behavior therapy for obsessive-compulsive and related disorders

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2014 Sep;37(3):415-45. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2014.05.002. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is considered a first-line intervention for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) across the lifespan. Efficacy studies of CBT with exposure and response prevention suggest robust symptom reduction, often with sustained remission. Acceptability of CBT is high, and the treatment is devoid of adverse side effects. The primary mechanism of CBT is based on operant principles, specifically extinction learning. The efficacy of extinction-based treatments such as CBT is being shown for other obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. This article reviews the theoretic basis, clinical application, and relevant treatment outcome research for CBT and related therapies for several obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders.

Keywords: CBT; Cognitive behavior therapy; Exposure therapy; OCD; Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / psychology
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Tourette Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*
  • Trichotillomania / drug therapy
  • Trichotillomania / psychology
  • Trichotillomania / therapy*


  • Psychotropic Drugs