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OCD Treatment


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach to treating a wide range of psychological difficulties.. It is broad term incorporating a number of treatment approaches—some focusing on specific problem areas (e.g., OCD, PTSD). CBT is short-term, goal-directed, problem-focused, structured and active, oriented in the "here-and-now", skill-building and research based.

CBT is based on the observation that psychological problems are often fuelled by unhelpful and unrealistic patterns of thinking which, in turn, may be reinforced by counterproductive behavioural patterns.

Cognitive restructuring, or cognitive reframing, is a therapeutic process that helps the client discover, challenge, and modify or replace their negative, irrational thoughts (and/or cognitive distortions). It is important to understand and realize that OCD thoughts are irrational  prior to proceeding with Exposure Response and Prevention. 

First Line Treatment for OCD 

Exposure & Response Prevention And/Or Medication


According to the Iocdf, the best treatment for most people with OCD should include one or more of the following four things: A CBT intervention called Exposure and Response Prevention, a properly trained therapist,  medicine, and family support and education .

Most studies show that, on average, about 70% of patients with OCD will benefit from either medicine or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Patients who respond to medicine usually show a 40 to 60% reduction in OCD symptoms, while those who respond to CBT often report a 60 to 80% reduction in OCD symptoms. However, medicines have to be taken on a regular basis and patients must actively participate in CBT for the treatments to work.

Exposure & Response Prevention

The most important strategy in CBT for OCD is called “Exposure and Response Prevention” (ERP). Exposure refers to confronting the thoughts, images, objects and situations that make you anxious. At first glance, this doesn’t sound right. You have probably confronted these things many times only to feel anxious over and over again. It is important to keep in mind that you have to do the second part of the treatment as well – Response Prevention. Once you have come in contact with the things that make you anxious, you make a choice to not do the compulsive behavior. Again, this might not seem correct to you. You may have tried many times to stop compulsive behavior only to see your anxiety skyrocket. The last point is key – you have to continue to make the commitment to not give in and do the compulsive behavior until you notice a drop in your anxiety. In fact, it is best if you stay committed to not doing the compulsive behavior at all. The drop in your anxiety that happens when you stay “exposed” and “prevent” the compulsive “response” is called habituation. This might be a new idea for someone with OCD – that your anxiety will start to decrease if you stay in contact with the things you fear and don’t do the compulsive behavior.

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Finding your True Values

Your values are the lenses through which you view yourself and your world

Life Values Inventory  

Why find your true values? OCD attacks your value. It latches on to what is important to you, threatening to cause harm in your life unless you do a compulsion to prevent 'bad things from happening' or to 'protecting the safety of others.' etc. 

Example 1: If you value a sense of belonging, OCD will threaten to alienate you from friends, family and lovers. OCD may create 'harming OCD' or ''relationship OCD' where you fear you may hurt someone or your partner doesn't love you, or you don't love your partner.
Example 2: If you value your health, you may develop "Health OCD" in where OCD will create thoughts that you are sick with an illness, or could become sick with an illness. 

After completing the (free) values inventory, it will highlight your 'core values' or 'true values' or 'personal truth' from which self-esteem, fulfillment, and resilience develop. This way, when OCD is flaring up - REMEMBER YOUR VALUES! Remember that OCD attacks your values to scare you! You will receive a report of your values in a .PDF that you can save. 
For instance, knowing that you value the wellbeing of others,  your health and belonging. - it will help you identify that OCD is at work when it is attacking the safety of others, telling you that you have a disease, or attacking your relationships. Knowing your values is another tool to help get awareness over your obsessions (thoughts) and power over compulsions.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is always negative!


AOCDF Worksheets
Use the worksheets to practice building thought (obsession) and compulsion awareness and create exposures.

Page 1 - Working on identifying Unhelpful Thinking (Irrational OCD thoughts and/or Cognitive Distortions)
Page 2 - Track your Obsessions and Compulsions to create awareness
Page 3 - Understanding the OCD Cycle with Exposure Response Prevention (With Example)
Page 4 - Make your own OCD Cycle with Exposure Response Prevention
Page 5 - Use the Fear Ladder to break down a fear into smaller fears


Anxiety Canada has a great "Self-Help: Managing your OCD at home" tool which includes OCD worksheets. If planning to delve into OCD treatment, one must commit. Make sure you are ready. It is not easy, but it is worth it



If possible, find a psychologist while recovering from OCD. A psychologist is someone you can trust and tell all your thoughts. Yes ALL the thoughts! A psychologist can coach you to become your own therapist so you can learn to manage OCD on your own. Be sure to interview your psychologist. They must be professionally trained in ERP. It's also important to have a good relationship and connection. The aocdf has a list of  therapists who are trained with ERP. 

Join a support group to meet others going through the same journey. There are several people who live with OCD. Sharing experiences reduces shame that accompanies OCD. Depending on your age, find the right group for you.

You don't have to learn how to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.


Alberta Self Care Resources


Mindfulness - Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on present moments in a nonjudgemental way. Mindfulness practices can be particularly beneficial for OCD sufferers. They are often paired with Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and/or medication to improve OCD treatment.

  • Mindful Institute 

  • Shambhala Meditation Shambhala is a global community of people inspired by the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature, our innate wisdom, can be developed so that it benefits our own lives and helps meet the many challenges facing the world. Shambhala welcomes people from all walks of life, faiths, and backgrounds. They come together to practice meditation, gather, and celebrate in order to develop a global culture that cultivates dignity and sanity in an increasingly chaotic and stressful world. Edmonton Calgary

Lifestyle It’s important to take care of ourselves. There are things you can do to help ease some of the stress you may be feeling. Here are some tips to help you cope.

MyHealth Make a MyHealth Records account to give you one, secure place to see​ your health information, including immunizations, medications and lab tests. This site was built by the Alberta Gove​rnment and Alberta Health Services to give Albertans one place to go for health information by healthcare experts.

SocializePeople use a website called 'Meetup' to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together. See who’s hosting local events near you.

City Recreation FacilitiesTheir membership plans make it easy to get more fitness and recreation into your budget and busy life.

Adult Recreation Sports Leagues - Join a fun recreation sport league to be active and meet others. 

  • ESSC - (Edmonton Sports and Social Club) was established in 2004 and has been providing adults with the best co-ed, multi sport experience ever since. The ESSC has grown to host over 5,000 teams each year, serving over 85,000 Edmontonians since inception. With year-round leagues, tournaments and events for adults, there are so many ways to get in the game! 

  • CSSC - (Calgary Sports and Social Club) was established in 1996 and has been providing adults with the best co-ed, multi sport experience ever since. The CSSC has grown to host over 5,300 teams each year, serving over 120,000 Calgarians since inception. With year-round leagues, tournaments and events for adults, there are so many ways to get in the game! 



  • AllTrails -Access 100,000+ trail maps. AllTrails has the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps so you can hit the trail with confidence. Anytime. Anywhere.

  • Parks and Recreation - Parks, campgrounds, events, outdoor activities, and supports for the recreation sector. Print this camping list to help with packing.

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