What Are Therapies For OCD?

The road to treatment for OCD can be a difficult one, and often requires significant courage and determination to succeed. Establishing a healthy level of support from a group can encourage you during the treatment process and is a healthy and beneficial step as you get started. 


The majority of psychologists will agree that the best and most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in combination with medication such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). CBT includes the more OCD-specific psychotherapy process called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which is well-known to be the most successful method of OCD treatment. 

ERP is usually performed under the supervision of a licensed mental health worker (counselor, social worker, or psychologist) either in person or online. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your therapist may recommend practicing ERP several times a week, or only once a week for about an hour. 

Studies estimate that 70% of individuals with OCD benefit significantly from a combination of ERP and physician or psychiatrist-prescribed medication. When combined, these two treatment options provide a powerful preventative defense against OCD’s often crippling everyday symptoms. 

When ERP doesn’t work 

If ERP alone or ERP and a medication combination are unsuccessful, you or your loved one may need to begin exploring less traditional forms of therapy as recommended by the IOCDF. These include the following treatment types: 

  • Standard Outpatient OCD treatment: This treatment type includes ERP or other types of CBT and simply involves the patient attending individual or group therapy sessions once a week to continue to work on symptom mitigation over time. 
  • Intensive Outpatient OCD treatment: The individual can attend groups or individual sessions (or both) multiple days per week. 
  • Full Day Program OCD treatment: A patient will attend treatment (group or individual therapy) at a mental health treatment center all day for up to 5 days a week. 
  • Partial Hospitalization for OCD: Similar to the full-day program, patients will attend treatment all day, but at mental health hospitals. 
  • Residential OCD treatment: This type of treatment involves a voluntary live-in situation at an unlocked mental health hospital or treatment center on an ongoing basis.
  • Inpatient OCD treatment: The most intensive level of treatment for mental health conditions, inpatient involves treatment conducted on a locked unit at a mental health hospital on either a voluntary or involuntary basis. A patient will only be exposed to this level of care and concern if they are a danger to themselves or others, for the purpose of restabilizing them over a few days to a week in order to move them down to a less intensive level of treatment as described above. 

Other OCD treatment options

While less utilized, additional treatment options for OCD do exist. These are reserved for extremely severe cases of OCD where it proves to be resistant to traditional treatments, and are generally a last resort.

If you're struggling with the symptoms and lifestyle challenges associated with OCD, online group therapy with Grouport can help. Check out our OCD groups today!

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