A new Curtin University of Technology doctoral study has found that group therapy is a practical and effective form of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
The study was conducted by Dr Rebecca Anderson through Curtin’s School of Psychology. She was among the Health Sciences doctoral candidates who graduated recently.
Dr Anderson’s thesis entitled “Symptom Presentation and Treatment Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Understanding Case Complexity” sought to address the limitations of individual therapy for OCD. She explained the rationale.
“Access to clinicians trained in methods known to be effective for treating OCD is recognised as limited due to both the lack of skilled clinicians and the time-intensive nature of standard individual therapy,” Dr Anderson said.
“As a mean of increasing access to skilled clinicians, I felt that it was significant to examine the efficacy of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) where elements of cognitive therapy and exposure and response prevention are combined in a group mode.”
Dr Anderson’s research consisted of two linked studies involving 49 participants over a period of two years.
The research found that the difference in gains between the participants receiving individual versus group therapy were not maintained after a one-month follow-up period right after the initial treatment period.
“While more participants receiving individual CBT met the recovered status post-treatment, after the one-month period these gains were not maintained,” Dr Anderson said.
“As a result, the continued use of group CBT was deemed to be both a practical and effective treatment delivery for OCD with the benefits of it being substantially more accessible and cost-effective for patients.”
Dr Anderson is now a Clinical Psychologist working at the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) in Northbridge.