Cognitive theories of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) ascertain that catastrophic (mis)interpretations of normally occurring intrusive thoughts are causal to the onset and maintenance of OCD. Recently, Calkins, Berman and Wilhelm have highlighted research validating the cognitive model. However, the current comment article stresses various findings that challenge basic premises of the cognitive theory. Moreover, a review of clinical studies investigating cognitive and behavioral therapies for OCD questions the added value of cognitive interventions over and above behavior therapy consisting of exposure and response prevention for this disorder. We suggest an alternative, potentially more useful route of investigation, stressing executive (dis)functions as the cause of OCD patients to (automatically) act on internal and external stimuli. We further suggest that dysfunctional beliefs proposed as paramount in the pathogenesis of OCD according to the cognitive model may be less important and specific than formerly believed.
- Behavior therapy
- Cognitive theory
- Executive functions
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health