Chapter 3. Psychotherapies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Review

  1. Mario Maj2,
  2. Norman Sartorius3,
  3. Ahmed Okasha4 and
  4. Joseph Zohar5
  1. Edna B. Foa and
  2. Martin E. Franklin

Published Online: 28 NOV 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0470846496.ch3

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4

How to Cite

Foa, E. B. and Franklin, M. E. (2000) Psychotherapies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Review, in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Volume 4 (eds M. Maj, N. Sartorius, A. Okasha and J. Zohar), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846496.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Naples, Italy

  2. 3

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

  3. 4

    Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

  4. 5

    Tel Aviv University, Israel

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 NOV 2001
  2. Published Print: 16 JUN 2000

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471871637

Online ISBN: 9780470846490



  • psychotherapy;
  • cognitive behavioural therapy;
  • exposure and ritual prevention;
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • outcomes


In the last 30 years, much progress has been made in the development and empirical evaluation of psychotherapies for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We first review some of the early behavioural interventions that, although they did not prove to be especially potent, set the stage for the development of more effective treatments. Next, we discuss the treatment outcome literature pertaining to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) involving exposure and ritual prevention (EX/RP), a program of established efficacy for reducing OCD symptoms. We will then describe the EX/RP treatment variables that may affect outcomes, such as session frequency and therapist-assisted exposures. Next, we will compare the relative efficacy of EX/RP to other therapies, including cognitive therapies and medication. Finally, we will review the findings on prediction of treatment outcome and then provide a summary of the empirical literature as it stands now.