Behavioral psychotherapy for children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder: an open trial of a new protocol-driven treatment package

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Mar-Apr;33(3):333-41. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199403000-00006.


Objective: The authors present an open trial of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Method: The authors developed a treatment manual explicitly designed to facilitate (1) patient and parental compliance, (2) exportability, and (3) empirical evaluation. Successive versions of the manual were used to treat 15 consecutive child and adolescent patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, most of whom were also treated with medications.

Results: Statistical analyses showed a significant benefit for treatment immediately posttreatment and at follow-up. Nine patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in symptoms on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale at posttreatment; 6 were asymptomatic on the National Institute of Mental Health Global Obsessive-Compulsive Scale. No patients relapsed at follow-up intervals as long as 18 months. Booster behavioral treatment allowed medication discontinuation in 6 patients. No patient refused treatment; 2 discontinued prematurely.

Conclusions: Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, alone or in combination with pharmacotherapy, appears to be a safe, acceptable, and effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors