Dr. Robert Selles and Dr. Evelyn Stewart of the Provincial OCD Program are conducting a research study that provides intensive treatment for youth with OCD. If you are interested in seeking treatment for your child’s OCD, please read the following for more information and contact Zainab Naqqash at (604) 875-2000 (ext. 3068) or zainab.naqqash@bcchr.ca.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating disorder that often becomes worse when left untreated. OCD is characterized by:

Obsessions (repetitive and uncomfortable thoughts, urges, or images) and Compulsions (behaviors or thoughts that are repeated in a specific way to prevent, reduce, or neutralize obsessions). 
Common topics of obsessions include: 

  • Contamination (e.g., germs, dirt, illnesses), 
  • Unwanted ideas (e.g., harm, sexual, sacrilege, superstition) 
  • Uncomfortable feelings of being ‘not-right’ or ‘incomplete’

Common compulsions include: 

  • Washing and cleaning 
  • Checking and reassurance seeking 
  • Avoiding 
  • Ordering and arranging

What is this study about? 

The treatment that works best for OCD involves gradually helping youth face the obsession while resisting the compulsion (e.g., touching something perceived as dirty and practicing not washing their hands). This treatment method is known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

Traditionally, this therapy is provided in 1-hour/week sessions. However, intensive sessions (e.g., 3-hours) appear to be a promising way to speed up recovery.

This study provides family-based intensive ERP to OCD-affected youth with the hopes of learning: 
A) the benefits of intensive ERP for treating OCD; 
B) the number of intensive sessions families need and/or want; and 
C) whether the setting of treatment (at the hospital or at your home/in your community) impacts how well or how quickly it works.

What happens in this study?

Prior to starting treatment, study staff will determine if families are eligible to participate, first by completing a telephone conversation (30-minutes) and then, if suitable, by completing a 3-hour in-person assessment. 

Eligible families will then receive treatment either at the hospital or at their home. Initially, families receive a 3-hour intro to treatment and then two 3-hour ERP sessions (one session/week). Once finished, we will assess whether the youth’s OCD has improved to the point it is no longer a problem for them. If so, then they will be entered into follow-up. 

If after 2 ERP sessions, the youth is still affected by OCD, then they will enter a second phase, where families can receive up to four additional 3-hour ERP sessions (one session/week). 
In follow-up, families will receive three 30-minute weekly calls focused on maintaining progress and will be reassessed at 1- and 6-months following treatment. 

Throughout the study, families will also complete online questionnaires in order to track progress and monitor symptom improvement. All assessment and treatment is provided free of charge. In addition, families will receive reimbursement for travel to the hospital as well as for time spent on completion of online questionnaires.

Please see the Study Flyer or Study Consent Form for more detailed information about procedures.

Is my child eligible to participate in the study? 

To join the study, the youth must:

  1. Be between 7 – 19 years of age 
  2. Have OCD as their primary mental health concern and at moderate or higher levels of severity
  3. Be willing, and have at least one parent/guardian willing, to participate in the treatment study
  4. Not be taking, or on a stable dose of, psychotropic medication (participation can be delayed until stable)
  5. Be sufficient in English to complete questionnaires (also applies to parent/guardian)
  6. Be living within Greater Vancouver (within 60-minute drive of BC Children’s Hospital)

Youth may be excluded from the study if they present with other mental health concerns that suggest participating in the study may not be appropriate (e.g., other challenges are more pressing).

How can I find out more about the study? 

The Study Flyer provides some additional details about the study procedure.

The Study Consent Form has detailed information about the process of participating in this research study including study purpose, procedures, risks and benefits, participant reimbursement, handling of data, and more.

Contact us: Zainab Naqqash is the head research coordinator on the study and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about participating. She can be reached at (604) 875-2000 (ext. 3068) or zainab.naqqash@bcchr.ca.