Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1739 Words
Date:  2021-03-11

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Table of Contents

Abstract 3
Introduction 4
Background of OCD 5
Person-centered theory 5
Cognitive-behavioral theory 7
Key Concepts 9
Comparative of Cognitive behavioral therapy and Person-centered theory in OCD treatment
Critical analysis of literature review
Critical view of cognitive-behavioral theory
Critical view of Person-Centered theory in treatment of OCD
Critical review of theoretical assumptions of person-centered theories
Summary of the findings
References 34


This study focused on a critical evaluation of the key concepts of Person-centered theory used in developing intervention strategies to treat Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) and comparing it with Cognitive Behavioral theory. The study based its research on existing literature about treating OCD through a person-centered perspective as well as a cognitive-behavioral perspective. A meta-analytic research was used to identify key studies used in the research. Existing literature indicated that the two perspectives heavily relied on the OCD-affected individuals' capacity to change depending on the intervention strategy used. The theories also relied heavily on using emotional appeal when coming up with intervention strategies. While some studies pointed out that the theories are effective in developing valid strategies, critics argue that the aspects used by the two theories are insufficient to develop effective strategies and specific standard models to treat OCD clients. There are significant concerns from analysis of the two theories. The study notes that most of the available studies are theoretical. It concluded that it is hard to determine the effectiveness of the theories based on the existing research because of lack of empirical data. Further research based on empirical evidence and specific aspects from the two theories are needed to determine the effectiveness of person-centered and cognitive-behavioral theory.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of an anxiety disorder that is characterized by two major parts comprised of compulsion and obsession. Individuals experiencing OCD have urges, unwelcome thoughts, doubts and images that are repeated and compel them to follow a certain ritualized routine (Jenike, 2011). An individual suffering from OCD might become increasingly worried that they will get infected with germs. Therefore, they have to wash their hands thoroughly. Others might experience an urge of hurting others.

Compulsions are evident to people suffering from OCD. These individuals follow a repetitive way of doing things. Some people are increasingly obsessed with the fear of something bad happening to them and routinely check that their door is locked. Others are extremely afraid of getting infections from germs and constantly wash their hands with detergents to kill the germs in a systematic routine. Compulsion is a solution to the obsessive thoughts. It tries to establish relief from the anxiety. However, compulsion is not a solution because it is short lived and when the individuals are severely affected by the obsession, they become more anxious and stressed (Ekman, 2004). Most of the obsessions are uncommon and many people cannot understand or relate with people suffering from OCD. In many cases in the early stages of OCD, many people do not understand individuals suffering from OCD. Individuals suffering from OCD also do not perceive obsessive compulsion as a disorder in its early stages (Ekman, 2004). Person-centered and Cognitive-behavioral theories are two methods that are used to approach/treat OCD. This study will examine the person-centered perspective and cognitive-behavioral theory methods of treating OCD and compare similarities and differences.

Background of OCD

OCD is a chronic mental disorder in which an individual has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors with the urge to repeat over and over (Lemelson, 2003). The routine temporarily helps to alleviate the anxiety, but in advanced stages, cure is needed. OCD ranges from mild to severe. Some people are affected by OCD for only a matter of days and the obsessive-compulsive behaviors disappear, while other people remain with the symptoms in their entire lifetime. According to DSM V, the symptoms of the disorder vary from psychological problems that are hardly noticeable, such as increased level of anxiety, to severe cases which are easily noticeable (Luyten and Blatt, 2011). OCD at early stages can be confused with a perfect way of doing things. Severe cases of OCD are characterized with physical symptoms such as constant headaches and nausea (Goodman et al., 2010). While there is no clear evidence that suggests the actual cause of OCD, available literature points to a number of factors. In cases where the disorder is experienced during the entire life of the individuals, OCD is normally traced in families as an inherited disorder linked to inherited genes (Ruscio, 2010). Studies of people with OCD indicate that the brains of people with OCD might be different from others. Studies show increased activities in the brain of people suffering from OCD (Lemelson, 2003). OCD affects children, men and women of all ages and the disorder can start at very early ages although the symptoms are hardly noticeable at the early stages. Severe cases and visible symptoms come around at early adulthood (Ruscio, 2010). Currently, there is no evident cure for OCD; however, therapies are used as the main treatment methods.

Person-centered theory

The person-centered theory is one of the theoretical methods used to treat OCD. The method asserts that OCD is acquired from a mixture of environmental factors that cause people to develop anxiety and lose self-worth. The theory proposes the use of therapeutic methods that aim at increasing self-worth and enhance congruence. The theory supports that individuals with OCD can recover because the acquired factors that lead to OCD can be undone under the right facilitation. Person-centered theory affirms that through providing an individual with a positive environment, the negative feelings, anxiety and the compulsive behaviors can be eliminated (Lemelson, 2003). Primarily, the theory points out that a positive environment can help in treating clients suffering from OCD even without offering any specific strategy. Person-centered theory indicates that there are several fundamental changes that must be present for any meaningful progress to be made. Based on the premises of this, it is required that obsessive-compulsive clients are allocated to an effective therapist who understands and appreciates them. The client is in a state of incongruence while the therapist should be in a state of congruence (Rogers, 1956). It is also a requirement that the therapist should offer unconditional positive regard to the client. The therapist must have a deeper understanding and appreciate the actions and behavior of people suffering from OCD. Congruence is an important aspect of the person-centered theory, which asserts that therapists must be authentic and genuine (Rogers, 1961). On the other hand, unconditional positive regard must indicate aspects of acceptance and furthermore support OCD clients regardless of actions. Empathy is also an indicative of a deeper understanding of what OCD clients are actually feeling.

The person-centered theory is client-oriented and empowers the client to develop mechanisms for change. According to the principles of the theory, OCD clients present different characteristics, which makes it hard for therapists to develop a standard model of helping the clients. It is through self-exploration of the clients that therapists are able to develop a model that understands the self-concept of the clients. Some clients affected by OCD indicate increased fear and are anxious about closing doors; others are afraid of attracting germs and, therefore, take their time cleaning their hands thoroughly in a bid to avoid the germs. It is only through giving each client time to show their behavior that the therapists are able to understand the individual deeply and decide on effective intervention strategies (Rogers, 1961). Therapists must understand clients in a non-judgmental way.

The Person-centered approach focuses on giving clients an opportunity to examine and understand themselves without judging their behavior and actions so that they can resolve their problems without the help of therapists (Rogers, 1961). Therapists only play a peripheral role in helping the clients understand themselves and consequently develop the techniques required to deal with the challenges they face in the environment they live in. According to this approach, the attitude, personal characteristics and the relationship between client and therapist are very important in determining the success of the intervention therapy used.

Cognitive-behavioral theory

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another method that is used to treat OCD, together with the use of medication. Although the method does not cure the disorder, it helps the client function normally and conduct their daily chores as expected. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps control the symptoms of OCD and contributes in reducing the anxiety and compulsion levels (Lemelson, 2003). The modern approach to OCD involves both the use of cognitive therapy and the use of medication; the latter is aimed at reducing the client's depression and anxiety while the therapy is aimed at training the individuals suffering from OCD in understanding themselves better. The main role of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to provide the client with a counselor that works together with the family and caretakers of the person suffering from OCD and trains them how to handle the client in effective ways.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy -like the person-centered approach- considers OCD to be an acquired disorder from the environment and, therefore, can be treated through helping clients learn and understand their behaviors. According to the principles of Cognitive-behavioral theory, exposure and the development of an effective intervention can reinforce the client by helping them understand their actions and determine how they react to different environments.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy uses the Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy to treat clients with OCD. The exposure part aims at understanding the elements that trigger individuals to have the kind of experiences they get from the environment (Goodman et al., 2010). Based on the premises of this theory, it is believed that the behavior exhibited by OCD individuals is acquired from the environment, and therefore the theory asserts that it is important to understand the triggers that arouse the anxiety. The main concept is that people manage to cope with hard situations through constant exposure; therefore it is through exposure to challenging situations that people develop and adapt mechanisms to cope with the environment. The Cognitive-behavioral approach claims that an OCD client can develop mechanisms in order to cope with the anxiety triggers when they are constantly exposed to these particular triggers. It further argues that compulsion should not be allowed because it only leads to further anxiety; instead, a long la...

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/obsessive-compulsive-disorder

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