“Freedom from Obsession and Compulsions Using Cognitive-Behavioural Strategies”
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ione of the most severe anxiety disorders. Affecting as many as 3% of children and a dolescents, it can profoundly interfere with a child’s academic performance, peer relationships and family life.
Many children with OCD never get treatment because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone about their symptoms, in case people think they are crazy. Therefore an important first step is to bring together these children for treatment of OCD so that they can see that they are not alone.
The Freedom from Obsessions and Compulsions Using Strategies (FOCUS) program consists of 15 sessions of cognitive–behavioural psychotherapy. The program involves one session a week for 13 sessions, followed by session 14 one month later and session 15 two months after. The last sessions are a form of booster where the child reviews skills and receives assistance with any new OCD symptoms. The program also aims to provide both parents and siblings skills to help the child fight the problem in a supportive environment.
We adopt a ‘team’ approach during the treatment program. Your child, as ‘team captain’ will learn all about OCD, and will receive instructions for fighting OCD from the therapist. The therapist is called the ‘coach’ and trains with the team once weekly introducing techniques to beat OCD, which form an imaginary ‘tool kit’ of specific skills for coping with OCD symptoms. Each week your child will have the opportunity to practice these skills with the therapist, and will also be given homework activities to enable her/him to practice what she/he has learnt during our sessions in the home environment.
The rest of the family and friends make up the remainder of the team. Parents will be provided with weekly tips on how to help their child defeat OCD. Each week we will discuss with parents the aims of each session, accompanied by some practical information and coaching tips on how to help your child boss back OCD.
The innovative family based approach of FOCUS has been shown to be particularly important given the high involvement of parents and siblings in accommodating the disorder, and the associated distress experienced by the family. A randomised control trial of FOCUS published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, showed 88% of children who participated in the program were diagnosis free at the end of treatment, compared to absolutely no change in the wait list group. Click here to read the article: Cognitive-Behavioral Family Treatment of Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Long-Term Follow-up and Predictors of Outcome
Testimonials for FOCUS
Testimonial from Dr John Piacentini, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
“The FOCUS Program, developed by Dr.Paula Barrettand colleagues, is an excellent resource for mental health professionals working in the area of child and adolescent OCD. Comprehensive in scope and derived from evidence-based clinical principles, the FOCUS Program provides structured guidelines for including other family members in treatment and is flexible enough for use in both individual and group settings. Controlled outcome research has demonstrated impressive short- and long-term efficacy for the program, and provides further evidence that this manual will be an important addition to any clinician’s library.
Dr. Barrett has conducted truly pioneering work in the phenomenology, prevention, and treatment of childhood OCD and other anxiety disorders. Her research is both innovative and elegant, internationally-recognized, and has served to advance the clinical and research understanding of many of the most pressing problems in child mental health today.”