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A contemporary cognitive-behavioural approach to understanding and treating OCD: Moving beyond exposure and response prevention

Adam S. Radomsky

31 Oct 2023


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous disorder; common symptoms include washing and checking behaviour, as well as primary obsessions (i.e., repugnant, unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, doubts and impulses).  There has been a surge in recent research on various forms of OCD, with publications often grounded solidly in a variety of cognitively-based models and frameworks.  Although these models differ to some extent in their explanation of obsessional and compulsive phenomena, they share a number of important features that are consistent with broad cognitive principles.  These have enabled a new, primarily cognitive conceptualization of contamination-based OCD, building on cognitive formulations of obsessions, of (especially mental) contamination, and of compulsive checking.  Although OCD remains a serious and often debilitating disorder, our ability to substantially improve the lives of those suffering from the problem has dramatically increased in recent years.  This workshop will capitalize on these recent improvements through the emphasis of new cognitive and behavioural treatment strategies for this challenging disorder.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


We will begin with a review of the theoretical and empirical work conducted on the psychopathology and treatment of different manifestations of OCD. The workshop will continue with practical instruction on the cognitive-behavioural assessment and treatment of a variety of forms of the disorder, with particular emphases on obsessions, compulsive checking, and contamination-based OCD (mental contamination). Attendees will learn about cognitive case formulation, the importance of ongoing assessment, and specific therapeutic interventions (with emphasis on behavioural experiments), all following from cognitive-behavioural models of OCD.

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will gain an understanding of the evidence base for a cognitive approach to understanding & treating OCD.
2. You will learn how to conduct cognitive case formulations of various presentations of OCD.
3. Strategies for how to use cognitive case formulations to drive cognitively-based treatment strategies for OCD will be demonstrated.
4. You will be able to collaboratively design and implement behavioural experiments in OCD.
5. Attendees will gain some knowledge of common beliefs in OCD, in addition to factors that may be more specific to obsessions, contamination fears, and doubting/checking.

Training Modalities

This workshop will include didactic content, Q&A, video examples and experiential components.

Key References

Rachman, S. (1997). A cognitive theory of obsessions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 793-802.
Rachman, S. (2002). A cognitive theory of compulsive checking. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 625-639.
Rachman, S. (2004). Fear of contamination. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 1227-1255.
Rachman, S., Coughtrey, A., Shafran, R., & Radomsky, A.S. (2015). Oxford guide to the treatment of Mental Contamination. Oxford University Press.
Radomsky, A.S., Dugas, M., Alcolado, G., & Lavoie, S. (2014). When more is less: Doubt, repetition, memory, metamemory, and compulsive checking in OCD. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 59, 30-39.
Radomsky, A.S., Shafran, R., Coughtrey, A.E., & Rachman, S. (2010). Cognitive-behavior therapy for compulsive checking in OCD. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17, 119-131.

About the presenter

Professor Radomsky He joined Concordia University in 2001 after the completion of his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of British Columbia and a fellowship at Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the Director of the Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Laboratory at Concordia, and a Core Member of the Centre for Clinical Research in Health (CCRH). His research investigates cognitive, behavioural and emotional aspects of OCD and a number of other anxiety disorders, as well as ways to enhance the effectiveness and acceptability of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders and related problems. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association (2014), was the Founding President of the Canadian Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (2010), and has received several institutional, national and international awards for his work. Professor Radomsky has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to his work on cognition, behaviour and the anxiety disorders, and is a frequent invited speaker at national and international conferences. His research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and has previously been funded by les Fonds de recherche du Québec – santé, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Professor Radomsky is also a member of L'Ordre des Psychologues du Quebec and is CACBT-ACTCC Certified in Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy and a Diplomate in cognitive therapy with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. In his clinical practice he specializes in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for adult OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Who should attend

This workshop is suitable for CBT practitioners who would like to expand and advance their knowledge base and/or skill set for working with OCD.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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