2005 cognitive therapists help clients focus on the

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Unformatted text preview: le sources of danger.When a neutralizing effort brings about a temporary reduction in discomfort, it is reinforced and will likely be repeated. Eventually the neutralizing thought or act is used so often that it becomes, by definition, an obsession or compulsion. At the same time, the individual becomes more and more convinced that his or her unpleasant intrusive thoughts are dangerous. As the person’s fear of such thoughts increases, the thoughts begin to occur more frequently and they, too, become obsessions. In support of this explanation, studies have found that people who have obsessivecompulsive disorder experience intrusive thoughts more often than other people, resort to more elaborate neutralizing strategies, and experience reductions in anxiety after using neutralizing techniques (Shafran, 2005; Salkovskis et al., 2003). Although everyone sometimes has undesired thoughts, only some people develop obsessive-compulsive disorder. Why do these individuals find such normal thoughts so disturbing to begin with? Researchers have found that this population tends (1) to be more depressed than other people (Hong et al., 2004), (2) to have exceptionally high standards of conduct and morality (Rachman, 1993), (3) to believe that their intrusive negative thoughts are equivalent to actions and capable of causing harm (Steketee et al., 2003), and (4) generally to believe that they should have perfect control over all of their thoughts and behaviors (Coles et al., 2005). Cognitive therapists help clients focus on the cognitive processes involved in their obsessive-compulsive disorder. Initially, they educate the clients, pointing out how misinterpretations of unwanted thoughts, an excessive sense of responsibility, and neutralizing acts help produce and maintain their symptoms. The therapists then guide the clients to identify, challenge, and change their distorted cognitions. It appears that cognitive techniques of this kind often help reduce the number and impact of obsessions and compulsions (Rufer et al., 2005; Eddy et al., 2004). While the behavioral approach (exposure and response prevention) and the cognitive approach have each been of help to clients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, some research suggests that a combination of the two approaches is often more effective than either intervention alone (McKay et al., 2010; Foa et al., 2005). In such cognitive-behavioral treatments, clients are first taught to view their obsessive thoughts as inaccurate occurrences rather than as valid and dangerous cognitions for which they are responsible and upon which they must act. As they become better able to identify and recognize the thoughts for what they are, they also become less inclined to act on them, more willing to subject themselves to the rigors of exposure and response prevention, and more likely to make gains in that behavioral technique. The Biological Perspective In recent years two lines of research have uncovered evidence that biological factors play a key role in obsessive-compulsive disorder, and promising biological treatments for the disorder...
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This note was uploaded on 01/07/2013 for the course PSY 270 taught by Professor Hall during the Spring '05 term at University of Phoenix.

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