Department of Psychiatry

Services offered

The Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre offers specific expertise for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related "spectrum" disorders, including hoarding, hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking and body dysmorphic disorders. To date, these have been ‘orphan' disorders, for which no other centre in Canada offers specialized care.

Treatment at the Centre will allow patients to:

  • Learn the skills they need to work on recovery from these difficult disorders
  • Recover with dignity and the knowledge that the support they need is available from our team
  • Have access to expert care for OCD and the related spectrum conditions that other anxiety treatment centres do not offer
  • Meet others with similar conditions through our support groups to strengthen their recovery
  • Get the help they need in one coordinated program, while also knowing they are contributing to research and knowledge needed to improve the treatment of individuals with these conditions in the future

We currently offer the following services:

  1. MD-to- MD Phone Consultation: The referring physician can consult directly with one of our psychiatrists to discuss the patient’s condition and treatment options. This is a one-time consult and the referring physician remains responsible for the patient’s care. The referring physician will be contacted to set up a phone appointment with one of the psychiatrists on our team and will directly receive our recommendations during the call.
  1. Psychiatric Consultation: Your patient can meet with one of our psychiatrists to discuss their current symptoms and review their history to make the best medication suggestions. They will also review the side effects of any medication they suggest taking. This is a one-time appointment for approximately 1-1.5 hours. The referring physician remains responsible for the patient’s care. Recommendations will be sent to the referring physician who can then determine with the patient if they wish to try the treatment suggested. Prior to their appointment, the patient will first be sent a detailed self-report questionnaire about their psychiatric and medical history to complete. The Psychiatric Consultation also includes a 'follow up' appointment which takes place approximately six weeks after the initial appointment and an annual reassessment.
  1. Group Treatment: We offer group CBT for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trichotillomania, compulsive skin picking, hoarding and body dysmorphic disorder and MBCT for OCD. Prior to being offered one of our groups, an assessment with one of our team members is required. This consists of a telephone screen as well as a face-to-face assessment (approximately 2 hours). The assessment process determines which group (if any) will best meet your patient’s needs.

All of our CBT and MBCT groups:

  • New groups start approximately every 4 months (January, May, and September). Please note that group treatment for body dysmorphic disorder and hoarding do not occur as frequently as other groups.
  • Currently, we are running only daytime groups (i.e. between 9 am – 5 pm) that are 2 hours in length.
  • CBT groups run for 12-16 weeks straight. MBCT groups run for 8 weeks straight.
  • Groups are led by 1-2 trained facilitators with 8-10 group members.
  • Members are expected to attend at least 90% of the sessions, and to do regular homework between sessions.
  • There is a cost for parking onsite (approximately $12 per day).

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on the way people think (cognitive) and act (behavioral). The concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation affect how we feel (emotionally and physically) and how we behave in the situation. Exposure and Response Prevention is the most commonly used form of CBT for OCD. Exposureinvolves deliberately triggering your fear repeatedly until you learn to better tolerate it and the fear subsides (called habituation). Response prevention involves refraining from compulsions, avoidance, or escape behaviors while you are practicing. For example, for someone with an OCD fear of germs or contamination, a typical exposure exercise might consist of shaking hands with someone (exposure), and not washing hands afterwards (response prevention).

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) is psychological therapy that uses traditional CBT methods and adds in newer psychological strategies such as mindfulness and mindful meditation. The latter two focus on becoming aware of all incoming thoughts and feeling and accepting them, rather than just reacting to them. The goal of MBCT is to interrupt these automatic responses and teach the participants to focus less on reacting to incoming stimuli, and instead accepting and observing them without judgment.

We do not offer individual therapy.

Art Therapy

Many people find making art provides them a sense of emotional and physical release. Learn more about art therapy.


We are happy to provide talks for public education and continuing health education purposes. We train students, residents and other health care professions on how to provide evidence based care for those with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders

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Location and contact

Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue,
K-wing, room K3W41
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4002
Fax: 416-480-5766


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Head of the Thompson Centre