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“Contents May Vary”: A Pilot Study of Treatment Histories of OCD Patients

  • Blake Stobie (a1), Tracey Taylor (a1), Alexandra Quigley (a1), Sandra Ewing (a1) and Paul M. Salkovskis (a1)...

Definitions of treatment failure and the labelling of patients as non-responsive typically require treatments to have been offered and failed. For pharmacological treatments, treatment quality is relatively easy to define; this is much more difficult with psychological treatments. This study examined patient recollections of previous therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). A Treatment History Questionnaire was administered to a sample of 57 apparently treatment refractory OCD patients from a specialist national OCD treatment unit and a national charity for OCD sufferers. On average, respondents reported an 8$\frac{1}{2}$ year wait between the obsessional symptoms interfering significantly with their lives and being diagnosed. Forty-three percent recalled having received either cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or behaviour therapy as the first treatment; 31% of the group did not know what type of therapy they had received. The components of therapy that respondents recalled were analysed and contrasted with minimal therapy criteria. These criteria appear not to have been met in most patients who understood that they had received “CBT”. The implications of this study for assessment of treatment integrity and the classification of patients as “treatment resistant” are discussed.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Black Stobie, Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, 99 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK. E-mail:
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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
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