Category: Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion 20 - Treating Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders in Diverse Contexts and Populations

Saturday, November 18
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom B, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Tic Disorders | Trichotillomania | Case Conceptualization / Formulation
Presentation Type: Panel Discussion

Obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSDs) such as tic disorders, trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), and excoriation (skin picking) disorder are frequently encountered in mental health clinics and cause substantial functional impairment. Researchers have developed detailed treatment protocols for OCSDs and demonstrated the efficacy of these treatments in clinical trials, typically within specialty treatment clinics. However, most clients who present with these problems do so in non-specialized treatment venues and are seen by clinicians without particular expertise in treating these disorders. Additionally, a variety of factors can complicate treatment of OCSDs in routine practice.


Given this, many clinicians do not feel comfortable treating OCSDs, and those who consult empirically-validated treatment manuals may find incongruence with their treatment setting and/or client population. Common clinician dilemmas include: What do I do if I’m not well-versed in treating these problems, but it’s not feasible to refer to a specialist? How does one proceed when co-occurring problems, which are common, prevent effective treatment of OCSDs? How does a clinician effectively adapt treatment from a manualized protocol when logistics of the treatment setting necessitate it? What does one do when a prescribed technique does not work as intended? Selecting and adhering to the “correct” manual may address some of these issues, but not all of them.


Expert panelists will discuss the strengths and limitations of manualized protocols for OCSDs. We will discuss the added value of ideographic, principle-driven approaches to assessing and treating OCSDs and co-occurring problems. We will also address how and why the effective use of behavioral techniques relies on a function-oriented framework. Panelists will discuss how experts and non-experts alike can use this approach to affect better outcomes for clients with OCSDs. Ample time will be devoted for Q&A with audience members to inform their own clinical practice. In all, this panel will inspire thoughts on going “beyond the manual” to provide comprehensive, effective cognitive-behavioral therapy for OCSDs across a variety of care settings. 

Learning Objectives:

Jennifer R. Alexander

Graduate Research Assistant
Texas A&M University

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Matthew Capriotti

Assistant Professor
San Jose State University

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Flint M. Espil

Postdoctoral Scholar
Stanford University

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Christopher Flessner

Assistant Professor
Kent State University

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Martin Franklin

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania

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Douglas W. Woods

Marquette University

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