Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The treatment of magical ideation in two individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder

  • Danielle A. Einstein (a1), Ross G. Menzies (a2), Tamsen St Clare (a3), Juliette Drobny (a3) and Fjola Dogg Helgadottir (a2)...

Data collected from clinical populations indicate that magical ideation (MI) may play a causal or a mediating role in the expression of obsessive compulsive symptoms. If this is the case then when targeted in treatment, symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) should be altered. Two individuals diagnosed with OCD received a trial treatment targeting magical thinking. The intervention consisted of a series of procedures designed to undermine superstitious/MI without targeting obsessions or compulsions. The procedures involved critical analysis of the following material: (1) a free astrology offer; (2) a horoscope prediction exercise; (3) a description of four different cultural explanations of the origin of fire; (4) an instructive guide for Tarot card readers; (5) a report of a UFO sighting; (6) a video-clip describing a cult festival; (7) a description of a ‘hoax’ channeler and (8) a superstition exercise. Measures of obsessive compulsive symptoms, superstition, MI and thought–action fusion were administered pre-treatment, post-treatment and at 3 months’ follow-up. According to the twofold criterion of Jacobson et al. (Behaviour Therapy 1984, 15, 336–352), following treatment the patients were identified as being recovered on measures of magical and superstitious thinking and on the Padua Inventory.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr D. A. Einstein, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. (email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

JD Woolley (1997). Thinking about fantasy: are children fundamentally different thinkers and believers than adults? Child Development 68, 9911011.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1754-470X
  • URL: /core/journals/the-cognitive-behaviour-therapist
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 143 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.