When Exposures Go Right: Effective Exposure-Based Treatment for Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

Cary Jordan, Adam M. Reid, Andrew G. Guzick, Jessica Simmons, Michael L. Sulkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure and response prevention (CBT-E/RP) is the first-line treatment for obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Several CBT-E/RP treatment manuals exist, yet clinicians still struggle to implement this evidence-based form of therapy. This article aims to help clinicians implement exposure-based treatment for OCD by providing practical treatment-enhancing strategies. In particular, literature and treatment recommendations related to effective hierarchy formation, strategic exposure design, and optimal exposure implementation is reviewed. Clinical case examples are provided throughout the paper to illustrate important principles, concepts, and recommendations. This paper aims to enhance the delivery of CBT-E/RP and address common questions and concerns that both new and advanced clinicians encounter when learning and applying this form of psychotherapy. Improving the integrity of CBT-E/RP delivery can improve therapeutic outcomes, patient compliance, and successful treatment completion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Clinical recommendations
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Exposure-based therapy
  • OCD
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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