Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder characterized, not surpisingly, by recurrent, unstopping obsessive thoughts, impulses or images, and compulsions which are repetitive behaviors or mental acts (like praying).

OCD typically has been challenging to treat. While medications and psychotherapy are often used, traditionally neither treatment has included one’s significant other. Why would you?

Well, OCD is exacerbated by stress. Relationships can inadvertently reinforce some of the obsessions or compulsions, so it may be important for the significant other to better understand their partner’s OCD.

A new study will look at cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy in the treatment of OCD, but as a part of couples therapy:

“First we will find out about the OCD symptoms and how the couple has been managing with these problems,” Abramowitz said. “Then we will help the couple learn to work together to address the OCD patient’s obsessions and rituals and assume a healthier relationship in which their interactions do not make OCD worse.”

It sounds both interesting and innovative. I wish more psychotherapy treatments considered the effects of the relationship on the disorder (not just the effect of the disorder on the relationship).

Read the full article: Help for Couples When a Partner has OCD