Innovations in the Delivery of Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Other Scholarly Work

Patel, SR, Comer, J, Simpson, HB. (2021). Innovations in the Delivery of Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder . 49 301-329. 10.1007/7854_2020_202

cited authors

  • Patel, SR; Comer, J; Simpson, HB



  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an important cause of global health-related disability. In the last several decades, exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) has emerged as one of the most evidence-based treatments for adult and pediatric OCD. Recommended as a first-line treatment in practice guidelines for OCD, EX/RP, when expertly delivered, can be superior to serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) medications alone and superior to adding antipsychotic medication to augment SRI treatment response. Despite a robust evidence base, EX/RP is not widely available. Moreover, although effective, only about half of patients who receive a standard course of EX/RP will achieve remission. This chapter will review innovations in delivering EX/RP, focusing on technology-based methods designed to increase access to EX/RP and translational neuroscience approaches to personalizing and optimizing EX/RP. Technology-based innovations to deliver EX/RP include video conferencing, internet-based treatment, and smartphone apps. Of these, internet-based, clinician-supported treatment has the most evidence base to date. Relevant to all technology-based innovations are the need for advances in the ethical, regulatory and financial aspects of understanding how access to EX/RP may be delivered to individuals of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in accordance with professional standards and regulations and covered by healthcare. Advances in our understanding of the neural processes underlying learning and memory have led to new ways to combine EX/RP with medications, behavioral interventions, or neuromodulatory methods, with the goal of enhancing the functioning of brain circuits that subserve fear processing and cognitive control. Among the pharmacological approaches to enhancing EX/RP outcome, both ketamine and cannabinoids show promise in small open trials but are in need of further study. Studies to train cognitive control are at an early stage of development yet provide preliminary evidence that training neural processes may be a new path to personalize treatment. How best to combine EX/RP with different types of neuromodulation is being actively studied. Together these innovations in the delivery of EX/RP for OCD hold great promise for improving outcomes of care for individuals with OCD by increasing the availability and the individual treatment effects of this already effective treatment.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 301

end page

  • 329


  • 49