Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) suffer from persistent and recurring thoughts or "obsessions" that they find very disturbing.

These thoughts typically reflect exaggerated anxiety or unrealistic fears. Sometimes people are aware that their fears are irrational, but often they are not certain.

There are many obsessions, among the most common of which are:

  • Fear of being dirty or contaminated
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Fear of harming one’s self or others
  • Fear of being responsible for an accident or disaster
  • Fear of imperfection

To cope with the distress that accompanies obsessions, people with OCD feel compelled to perform "compulsions," behaviors (or mental acts) that seem to prevent a feared catastrophe or in other ways bring relief. The relief is only temporary, however, and people with OCD usually fall into a pattern of repeatedly performing a particular compulsion.

Some common compulsions are:

  • Excessive washing or cleaning
  • Checking for safety or for mistakes
  • Repeating everyday actions until they feel "perfect"
  • Arranging objects in a particular way
  • Counting or praying in a rigid, repetitive manner
  • "Hoarding," or saving unnecessary objects

Our outpatient clinic offers weekly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in either group or individual format. However, many clients prefer a more intensive, daily treatment program -Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


Accelerated CBT

There are several reasons to consider such an intensive treatment program:

  • Some research suggests that intensive (daily) treatment may be more effective, especially in the earlier stages of treatment.
  • People who have not benefited fully from less intensive interventions may respond well to more intensive, daily treatment.
  • Some clients will find it more convenient to come for treatment for a briefer period of time, rather than stretch out their treatment. This may be especially true for clients who have difficulty adjusting their work schedules, or who come in from out of town.

Our OCD Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program is an intensive treatment program that includes a strategy called exposure and response prevention. Clients work with a therapist individually to develop a step-by-step plan to confront feared situations while refraining from unhelpful responses such as avoidance, compulsive behavior, or rituals that give a false sense of safety. Over time, clients learn that they can handle these situations, and they find that their fear is reduced considerably. There is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that the majority of clients respond very well to this form of therapy. The staff at the Anxiety Disorders Center are expert clinicians and scientists who specialize in the application and study of CBT for obsessive compulsive disorder in in adults, children, and adolescents.

Our OCD Accelerated Program consists of 15 sessions delivered five days per week for three weeks. Each session lasts 1.5-2 hours. For those that are coming in from out of town or who may not be able to attend three weeks of daily treatment, we offer a one week treatment program that consists of 10 sessions (1.5 to 2 hours a session) over five days. There is a morning and afternoon session. This program includes three follow up phone calls after the tenth session. Please see our section on group therapy for opportunities to engage in Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD in a group format.

After the initial assessment, treatment consists of exposure and ritual prevention whereby clients gradually face feared activities, objects, and situations while refraining from compulsive behavior.

Several research studies indicate that exposure and ritual prevention is both effective and well tolerated by adults and children with OCD. Exposure and ritual prevention is considered a first-line treatment of choice for OCD.

Click here to see outcome data from our OCD Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this an inpatient, partial hospital, or residential program?
A: The Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program at the Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a specialized intensive therapy program that does not fit into any of these categories. Clients do not stay overnight at The Institute of Living. Each visit lasts from 1.5-2 hours and clients are expected to spend additional time during the day completing homework exercises on their own. Those who live outside the Hartford area may choose to stay in a local hotel (our center can help those from out of town locate an appropriate hotel).

Q: Is this service covered by my insurance plan?
A: Please be advised that most insurance plans do not pay for the Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program and our staff members are not contracted with any insurance companies to provide this service. Therefore, the client will be responsible for all costs. We will provide you with an invoice and you are free to seek reimbursement from your insurance company if you wish. Clients who wish to use their insurance plans may receive weekly treatment through our outpatient clinic.

Q: Does “accelerated" or "intensive" cognitive behavioral therapy mean that this treatment is harder than regular treatment?
A: Not necessarily. The words “accelerated" or "intensive" cognitive behavioral therapy mean that treatment is delivered more frequently than the typical weekly schedule. This allows you to receive immediate feedback and support from your therapist about your exposure homework exercises. Therefore, Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is more focused and possibly more effective, but is not necessarily more difficult than weekly treatment.

Q: What is the cost?
A: The Accelerated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program for OCD typically runs either over 1 week (twice daily sessions for 5 days) or over 3 weeks (15 daily sessions over 3 weeks). The typical cost for a one week program is $3,500 with a licensed psychologist and $2,000 with a postdoctoral fellow*. The typical cost for a three week program is $5,250 with a licensed psychologist and $3,000 with a postdoctoral fellow*. The cost may be different if your clinician determines that a different schedule of visits is warranted. You will be informed of the structure of the program at the initial evaluation.

* Postdoctoral fellows are clinicians that have their Ph.D., but are not licensed. The postdoctoral fellowship is a 2 year training program in which fellows receive specialized supervised training in Anxiety Disorders and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy prior to taking their licensing examination

Anxiety Disorders Center


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