Department of Psychiatry
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Outpatient OCD and related disorders – FAQ

Q: What is CBT?

A: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on the way people think (cognitive) and act (behavior) when they experience mental health difficulties. 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. First, an exposure hierarchy is developed in order to help clients confront anxiety situations in systematic and controlled manner. An exposure hierarchy involves situations that an individual fears and/or avoids that are ordered based on the amount of anxiety the situation produces. The least anxiety-provoking situations are ordered at the bottom of the hierarchy while the most anxiety-provoking situations are at the top. Then, clients complete graduated exposure practices which involve entering into these situations during treatment. As a result, individuals can learn to tolerate these symptoms, and gradually, the fear subsides (this is called habituation). Response prevention involves refraining from compulsions, avoidance, or escape behaviors while you are completing exposure exercises. For example, for someone who experiences afear of germs or contamination, a typical initial exposure exercise might consist of shaking hands with someone (exposure), and not washing hands afterwards (response prevention). Groups are led by 2 trained facilitators with 8 group members

Q: What is MBCT?

A: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an empirically validated psychological therapy that integrates mindfulness exercises and CBT methods.MBCT combines cognitive therapy concepts with mindfulness practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. As individuals cultivate mindful awareness, they may become aware of the modes of mind that characterize mood and anxiety disorders while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them. As a result of engaging in mindful practices, we can develop awareness, curiosity, and non-judgemental acceptance of our experiences, rather than reacting to our lives as if we were on "autopilot". Groups are led by 2 trained facilitators with 8-11 group members

Q: When does group treatment occur?

A: 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, our groups run during the day during the week (Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm) and groups are usually 2-3 hours in length. CBT groups are offered for 15 consecutive weeks. MBCT groups are offered for 8 consecutive weeks.

Q: What are the referral process and eligibility criteria?

A: We offer outpatient group treatment to individuals experiencing mild to moderate OCD symptoms. Learn more about our referral process and eligibility criteria.

Q: What is the expected wait time?

A: Due to the high volume of referrals we receive, our staff cannot confirm the receipt of applications. The client will, however, be contacted by phone or email to notify them about the status of their application within 3 weeks from the date of submission. Typically, once you have been accepting into group therapy, you will be offered the next available group (groups begin in January, May, and September)

Q: What we expect of patients in our program?

A: Once you are accepted into the program there are expectations and rules patients must abide by. Here are some of the expectations that we have of our patients:

  • It's required that clients not miss more than two sessions. If you are not able to attend group treatment regularly, this may not be correct treatment option for you at this time.
  • Respect other group members; it is not acceptable for any client to demonstrate aggression towards others
  • The information learned about others within group sessions remains confidential WITHIN that group session
  • There is a discounted parking available upon request (approximately $13 per day).