Suggestions from acceptance and commitment therapy for dealing with treatment-resistance obsessive compulsive disorder.

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Treatment resistant anxiety disorders: Resolving impasses to symptom remission




New York

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), classified as an anxiety disorder, is characterized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) by distressing intrusive thoughts and unwanted repetitive behaviors that cause functional interference. Even though the field has progressed in the treatment of OCD, there are still areas where mental health professionals struggle with its treatment. This chapter offers insights and suggestions from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT, said as one word) in the management of some of these issues. In order to accomplish this, we provide a brief description of the philosophy, research, and model of psychopathology that informs ACT and the corresponding treatment model. This chapter does not focus heavily on the similarities and differences between ACT and currently empirically supported approaches to the treatment of OCD. This is an important issue, but it is complicated by the fact that most of these methods come from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). ACT is part of the CBT family of interventions; it is essentially a model of how to do CBT. So far as we know, all of the empirically supported individual components or elements of CBT approaches for OCD (e.g., exposure) are compatible with an ACT model. Distinguishing an ACT model from other models of CBT raises issues that go beyond the current topic, but there are theoretical papers on this topic. Thus, our focus will be on describing how ACT targets some of the issues that are encountered in the treatment of OCD with the hope that clinicians find useful ideas or procedures and researchers can be motivated to continue to address them.

This document is currently not available here.