Reversing OCD with intensive 4-day ‘head-on’ therapy

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Image credit: Citizens of Culture

[A]round nine years after [Katherine] Mydland-aas’s cleaning rituals began, a psychologist diagnosed her with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and referred her to a clinic at the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen. There, a team was administering a behavioral therapy for the condition that, to Mydland-aas’s surprise, was only four days long. “I thought, what can they do in four days?” she says. “[But] it changed my life.”

Mydland-aas is one of more than 1,200 people who have received the Bergen four-day treatment for OCD, a concentrated form of exposure therapy designed by two Norwegian psychologists, Gerd Kvale and Bjarne Hansen. The four-day protocol has recently gained international attention for its effectiveness and efficiency.

The Bergen method works in three stages: On the first day, therapists provide patients with information about OCD and help them prepare for the exposure tasks they will engage in over the next two days. During the exposure part of the protocol, people face their fears head-on.

Related article:  Do you crave sweets when you’re stressed? Blame it on your brain

Participants set aside the last day for planning how to maintain the behavioral changes gained during therapy after leaving the clinic.

Kvale, Hansen and their colleagues reported findings from a long-term analysis of the treatment’s effects. The study, published August in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, revealed that 56 of 77 patients remained in remission four years after treatment—and that 41 of the 56 had fully recovered.

Read full, original post: 4 Days of Intensive Therapy Can Reverse OCD for Years

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