Developmental Trauma in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Miller, Devin
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Some individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have histories of childhood traumatic experiences (CTEs). Historically, there has been relatively little focus on developmental and interpersonal factors in OCD, which are relevant in examining CTEs. Cognitive, core belief, emotion regulation, and self-concept factors have been found to mediate the CTE-OCD link, but no conclusions about causality have been possible from studies to date. Importantly, treatment resistance to first-line cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is common in OCD, and poor treatment outcomes may occur as a result of negative cognitive schemas derived from CTEs. Accordingly, in this capstone, I ask: What does recent research have to say about the association between CTEs and OCD and the resulting implications for addressing treatment-resistance? Schema therapy (ST), a multimodal approach that combines experiential, cognitive-behavioural, and developmental perspectives, has been identified as a promising candidate for addressing both CTEs and OCD in parallel. By highlighting an OCD case conceptualization through a schema theory lens, I show that ST is a practical modality to explore for individuals who have failed to respond to CBT.
obsessive-compulsive disorder , childhood traumatic experiences , attachment trauma , schema therapy , early maladaptive schemas
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