What to look for in a OCD Treatment Center and in an Intensive Treatment Program for OCD


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that impacts over 2 million Americans. OCD is characterized by intrusive, uncontrollable, and unwanted thoughts or fears (obsessions), which leave someone feeling the urge to perform compulsions, which are repetitive and ritualized behaviors in an effort to avoid or decrease anxiety caused by these obsessions.

OCD Cause

OCD is a genetic condition and usually starts between the ages of 10-12 years old. There are many sub-types, or different forms of OCD. Unfortunately, only a few of these sub-types are known or represented in media. As a result, most people will take 10-12 years before they get help for OCD.

Need for OCD Treatment

OCD can cause significant distress and at times can consume hours of a person’s day by performing compulsive rituals. For some individuals, OCD can take over their life to the degree that they will have to seek out, find, and go through an OCD intensive treatment program.

Mental Health Treatment Centers for treating OCD

There are a handful of mental health treatment centers around the world that specialize in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Finding a treatment center that specializes in the treatment of OCD will ensure proper care and use of time and money. There are many treatment centers that portray that they offer intensive treatment programs for OCD but unfortunately, don’t specialize in the treatment of OCD. Therefore, many people that attend these intensive treatment programs end up stuck in the OCD cycle.

Finding a National OCD Treatment Center

A National OCD treatment center is a treatment center that offers specialized services for people with OCD and co-occurring anxiety disorders. They typically treat other conditions because OCD has a high co-morbidity factor that leads to those suffering from OCD to have co-existing anxiety disorders like social anxietygeneralized anxietypanic/anxiety attacksPTSD, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?or trichotillomania and skin-picking.

How to recognize a National OCD Treatment Center

National OCD treatment centers will specifically indicate their specialty is in treating OCD and related anxiety disorders. This will be their primary focus. Therefore, a treatment center specific to OCD will not treat conditions like drug or alcohol addiction and will have a set proven, empirically backed treatment program specific to OCD.

Questions to ask to ensure you are speaking to a National OCD Treatment Center that offers a true OCD Intensive Treatment Program

Do your treatment center and therapists specialize in the treatment of OCD?

What is your training and background in OCD?

  • Know that anyone that specializes in the treatment of OCD will have studied underneath someone else that specializes in the treatment of OCD. There is no school that teaches OCD treatment.

What treatment techniques does your treatment center utilize during the intensive treatment program?

How many hours will be spent performing ERP every day?

  • ERP should be the primary focus of any OCD treatment program.
  • Hours will vary depending on which OCD treatment program but should be 80% of the program hours.



Specialization in OCD treatment:
Any top national OCD treatment center will specialize in OCD treatment. That means OCD will be their primary focus and the staff will have been specially trained to support clients with the most advanced treatment procedures available. They will also offer an OCD test and offer an assessment process that is specific to OCD. The therapists, psychologists or counselors will specialize in a treatment technique called exposure and response prevention, which has become the gold-standard treatment for OCD.

Proven track record:

Finding and reading client testimonials should be easy to find on any National OCD Treatment Center. Also, do not be afraid to ask to speak to previous clients that have already been through the program. Clients are typically happy to share their success with other clients still suffering from OCD.

Safe Environment:

Any top national mental health treatment center should provide a safe environment that allows the client to feel comfortable in sharing their past and current struggles with OCD.

Trust Worthy Staff:

One of the ways in which a safe environment is created is by having friendly, compassionate, knowledgeable staff that will not judge the client’s current experience. This staff should create a bridge for each client to know they are in the right place. The client should experience this trust immediately.


OCD intensive treatment programs are typically three-week to a month long programs that offer specialize treatment through cognitive-behavioral therapy and ERP. The treatment involves intensive treatment techniques and a skilled team or therapist implementing these techniques. These programs are usually held in an inpatient or outpatient treatment centers. Some treatment centers will provide treatment in a group setting, while others will offer one-on-one care. Some will combine both group and individual care.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in treating OCD patients
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological intervention used for treating mental disorders. CBT  focuses on the development of solving personal patterns such as thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, emotional regulation. It also treats depression and OCD. Using the cognitive and behavioral psychology, the therapists set diagnose of the patient and after that treat them with this therapy. There are few steps in treating the patients:

Step 1-  Identify the patient’s critical behavior.

Step 2-  State and determine whether the critical behavior is deficits or excess.

Step 3-  Evaluate the duration, intensity, and frequency for the patient’s behavior.

Step 4-  If the patient has increased duration, frequency or intensity, try to decrease it and vice versa.

The therapy has 6 phases:

Psychological assessment, OCD test, or general assessment

Conceptualizing again the state of the patient

Skills acquisition

Applying the training and the proper level service


Treatment after finishing the therapy

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

ERP is a sub-type of CBT that has been known as the gold-standard treatment for OCD. ERP allows a client to face their obsessive fears but shift their condition response (compulsive behaviors), therefore, shifting out of the OCD cycle.

Typical OCD Treatment

Typical OCD treatment starts with an assessment wherein the therapist or OCD treatment center is able to verify the level of severity of OCD and identify the sub-types of OCD that are present. Each patient is assessed and then assigned a treatment program. If the treatment is not efficient, the program for the patient is changed. Here are the typical treatment programs for OCD:

Traditional Outpatient Sessions for OCD ?

The patients see the therapist for one or two times a week for about 40 or 50 minutes. It is only for individual sessions and is done only if the therapist has recommended it. Specialty Outpatient Clinics and the most therapists offer this treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment for OCD ?

The treatment is organized in groups or sometimes just with individuals and is done more days than the treatment for traditional outpatient. The clinics referred as OCD Intensive Treatment Programs  use this level of treatment.

Day Program for OCD ?

It is an every day or 5 days per week session where the patients attend the treatment during the day at the mental care center from 9pm until 5pm.

Partial Hospitalization for OCD ?

It is the same as the Day Program treatment and the patients follow the treatment in the mental health care hospital.

Residential Programs for OCD ?

With this treatment, the patients are willingly volunteering in some mental health treatment center.

OCD Inpatient Treatment Programs for OCD ?

It is the highest level of treatment with patients who have come voluntary or involuntary in the hospital or the mental care center. This type of treatment is used only if the patients can’t take care of themselves or represent a danger, for the environment and themselves as well. The focus of the treatment is to make the patients stable and then put the patient into lower levels of treatment.



It is helpful for people who are transitioning between the levels of care and need continuous mental health care to also have ongoing care as they return home. Some OCD treatment centers that offer OCD intensives don’t provide after care. Some will provide 6-week relapse prevention programs. Before leaving the treatment center, your therapist should support you in setting up ongoing treatment through their team or should help you find a local therapist that can continue to support you when you get home. There are also treatment providers for OCD that offer coaching or therapy over the phones or Internet.

In Conclusion

Finding the right OCD intensive treatment program is a result of identifying OCD and anxiety treatment centers that specialize in the treatment of OCD and provide the level of care that you need. You’ll want to evaluate whether or not an inpatient treatment program is needed or if outpatient will suit your needs. For most people, they won’t need to be hospitalized or prefer to remain outside of a hospital setting. Therefore, most people suffering from severe OCD will want to attend an intensive outpatient program for OCD.