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Question:

How important is motivation in overcoming OCD? If a person realizes she has a major problem with OCD and would like to be as she was "before," but is not able to stop doing the cleaning rituals, would cognitive-behavioral therapy help?

Answered by: Blair Simpson

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a very effective treatment for OCD, but only if the person can adhere to the treatment procedures. These procedures include exposing oneself to one's worst fears in a systematic way while voluntarily not doing rituals. Thus, a person's motivation is essential to a good outcome. Several things can help motivate patients, including a skilled therapist who is adept at building a trusting relationship and/or medication to reduce the severity of symptoms.