Cognitive Approaches to Obsessions and Compulsions

Theory, Assessment, and Treatment

Edited by

  • Randy O. Frost, Smith College
  • Gail Steketee, Boston University School of Social Work

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has perplexed clinicians and researchers for many years. Despite recent advances in our understanding of and ability to treat this debilitating problem, many people with OCD do not benefit or benefit only marginally from existing treatments. Newer approaches and a better understanding of the pathogenesis of OCD are needed. One such approach that has shown considerable promise in recent years is cognitive therapy. Recent studies have found cognitive therapy to be an effective treatment for OCD, and research on cognitive theory for OCD is rapidly expanding.

This volume assembles nearly all of the major investigators responsible for the development of cognitive therapy (and theory) for OCD, as well as other major researchers in the field to write about cognitive phenomenology, assessment, treatment, and theory related to OCD. Each chapter of the book is written by an expert in the area. The first section of the book describes the domains of cognition in OCD and the subsequent section outlines measurement strategies where the efforts of an international working group of scholars to develop measures of OCD cognition are described. Reviews of OCD cognitions in OCD spectrum disorders and in specific populations (e.g. elderly, children) are reviewed in following sections. Finally, the role of these cognitions and cognitive processes in treatment is described.

A limited number of inspection copies of this book are available for qualified course instructors. Requests for an Examination Copy (please provide full course details) should be sent via e-mail to:

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Book information

  • Published: May 2002
  • Imprint: PERGAMON
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-043410-0


The subject matter of this timely book breaks new ground for both clinicians and researchers, and provides what could well be the most important conceptual advances in this field in the past 20 years. If you have time to digest only one book on OCD this year; this is the one.
David H. Barlow, Boston University, 2001

Table of Contents

Cognition in obsessive compulsive disorder: an overview (S. Taylor). Domains of Beliefs in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Section editors: D. Thordarson, R. Shafran. Importance of thoughts (D. Thordarson, R. Shafran). The need to control thoughts (C. Purdon, D.A. Clark). Responsibility (P. Salkovskis, E. Forrester). Overestimation of threat and intolerance of uncertainty (D. Sookman, G. Pinard). Perfectionism (R. Frost et al.). Commentary (D.A. Clark). Measurement of Cognition in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Section editors: M. Kyrios, C. Purdon. Development and validation of instruments for measuring intrusions and beliefs in obsessive compulsive disorder (S. Taylor et al.).Experimental methods for studying cognition (J. Riskind et al.). Information processing in obsessive compulsive disorder (N. Amir, M. Kozak). Insight: its conceptualization and measurement (F. Neziroglu, K. Stevens). Commentary on cognitive approaches to OCD: critical issues and future directions in measurement (S. Taylor). Cognition in Disorders Related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Section editor: M. Whittal. Cognitive model of body dysmorphic disorder (S. Wilhelm, F. Neziroglu). Eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (R. Shafran). A cognitive perspective on obsessive compulsive disorder and depression: distinct and related features (D.A. Clark). Obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia: a cognitive perspective of shared pathology (J. Yaryura-Tobias, D. McKay). Cognitions in compulsive hoarding (M. Kyrios et al.). Commentary on OC spectrum and related disorders (M. Antony). Cognition in Selected OCD Populations. Section editors: E. Sanavio, C. Carmin. Cognitive aspects of obsessive compulsive disorder in children (I. Söchting, J. March). Cognitive processes and obsessive compulsive disorder in older adults (J. Calamari et al.). Cognition in subclinical obsessive compulsive disorder (R. Warren et al.). Cognition in severe or treatment resistant obsessive compulsive disorder (P. Wiegartz et al.). Obsessive compulsive disorder cognitions across cultures (C. Sica et al.). Commentary (A. Pollard). Therapy Effects on Cognition. Section editors: P. van Oppen, P.M.G. Emmelkamp. Cognitive changes during exposure and response prevention for obsessive compulsive disorder (P.M.G. Emmelkamp et al.). Cognitive changes during cognitive behavior therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder (M. Bouvard). Group cognitive behavioral treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (M. Whittal, P. McLean). Medication effects on cognition in obsessive compulsive disorder (G. Simos). Commentary (J. Yaryura-Tobias). Commentary (P. Emmelkamp). Studying cognition in obsessive compulsive disorder: where to from here? (G. Steketee et al.). Appendices. Obsessive beliefs questionnaire and scoring information. Interpretation of intrusions inventory and scoring information.