Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Related Disorders
7 W 36th St, 15 Fl, New York, NY
(212) 203-9792
thereedscenter@gmail.com

“I don’t have compulsions like hand washing or checking things, will ERP help me?”

"I don't have compulsions like hand washing or checking things, will ERP help me?"

Some sufferers of OCD have read or been told that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) isn’t effective if you don’t have any (or very few) behavioral rituals (such as excessive hand washing, checking locks or stoves, touching/tapping/rubbing, etc.).  Some clients report having no compulsions, defining themselves as “Pure Obsessional” or “Pure O” (see FAQ: “I have “Pure-O” (Pure Obsessional) OCD, can ERP help me?”). Others report only mental compulsions, such as mentally reassuring oneself, rationalizing, mental counting, mentally repeating calming words, or mentally reviewing conversations or things to do, etc.

The evidence from research as well as our own extensive experience treating OCD is that ERP is just as effective for those with primarily mental compulsions as it is for those with behavioral rituals.   The same treatment model, rationale, and principles apply.  At The Reeds Center we help clients identify their mental compulsions and teach them effective and proven strategies to stop them while designing exposures to help clients get used to their fears.