Our Unique Treatment at The OCD Clinic®

Brief Strategic Therapy (BST), has displayed the most effective outcome results in the field of treating most forms of psychological suffering (Gibson et al., 2013, 2014 and Nardone, 1995).

We have now formulated specific treatment protocols centered on our unique clinical dialogue and therapeutic interventions that have been created through the adoption of a scientific, empirical and experimental method for validating our treatment and for verifying results.

The Advanced Model of Brief Strategic Therapy: Principles & Techniques

The strategic approach has evolved from the communication theory developed by Gregory Bateson from, Constructivist theory and practice of Dr. Heinz Von Foerster, Dr. Ernst Von Glasferld Glaserfeld and the scientific developments in cybernetic theory of Von Neumann, Professor Keeney.

Our colleague, Professor Giorgio Nardone, in more recent times, has also lead the evolution of what was known as the the Palo Alto School also known as the Mental Research Institute – MRI, which created first model of Brief Therapy. Professor Giorgio Nardone, together with Dr. Paul Watzlawick of Stanford Department of Psychiatry, developed an advanced form of therapeutic technology known today as Brief Strategic Therapy (BST).

Our model of treatment is explained in a book Winning Without Fighting: The Handbook of Effective Solutions to Social, Emotional and Behavioural Problems available on Amazon and from Malta University Press. This book was written by the Clinical Director of the The OCD Clinic® Padraic Gibson and his colleagues and co-authors Dr. Claudette Portelli and Dr. Matteo Papantuono. The model is also exceptionally well explained in the seminal text The Art of Change (Nardone & Watzlawick, 1990).

Solving Problems

A fundamental concept of advanced Brief Strategic Therapy is that, when a problem or difficulty arises in life, people tend to attempt to solve it by applying a specific solution that may have worked in the past.

These attempts can either change the problem or maintain and exacerbate it. We believe that psychological problems are the outcome of a dysfunctional or unhelpful way of perceiving and responding to a situation or problem. This unhelpful attempt at solving a problem, when repeated over time and in different places creates what we call a perceptive-reactive-system (Gibson 2014, Nardone & Portelli, 2005).

The perceptive-reactive-system can be defined as “repeated ways in which an individual perceives and consequently reacts to his/her own reality in his/her relationship with himself/herself, with others, and with the world’’ (p.55 Portelli, Papantuono and Gibson).

Rigorous and Scientific Treatment

Our unique model treatment at The OCD Clinic® makes it possible to plan and apply specific interventions precisely suited for several problems across different contexts (Nardone, Verbitz, & Milanese, 1999).

What our clinical interventions have in common is the use of a non-ordinary logical mechanism (that is we avoid simplistic common sense solutions that do not work).

Our clinical interventions are designed and selected on the basis of the difficulty the patient has and the objective the patient seeks to reach (Nardone & Watzlawick, 2005). Thus, the therapy becomes a process of strategic problem solving where, like in a chess game, the experienced players always keep in mind which strategy will lead to success as s/he responds to the changing game.

In other words, the potential reaction to each single intervention we use is predictable and technical and we change the strategy only on the basis of the observed effects it is having. So if it is working we continue, if it is not we alter the strategy until the patient is free of the problem or has reached their goal. In doing this we are adopting an ongoing self-corrective process that is based only on positive outcomes for the patient.

OCD Treatment – Being Illogical to Be More Logical

At The OCD Clinic ® we have adopted the use of what we call non-ordinary logic, (Portelli, Gibson and Papantuono, 2014: Nardone and Balbi 2014). The logic of any problem, put simply, is the way a patient forms a conclusion or decides to act.

In the case of a patient suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, using reason and rational logic to convince them to change will not help them stop their pathological rituals and may not necessarily lead to any result at all and may even lead to making it worse. However, a treatment based on the same non-ordinary logic underlying the OCD problem, will lead to a rapid and successful resolution of the problem.

Treatment at The OCD Clinic® & Current Psychological Treatments For OCD

At The OCD Clinic we provide a cutting edge unique scientific model of treatment. At The OCD Clinics, we use a gold standard evidence based scientific model of treatment called Brief Strategic Therapy® which, through rigorous research and practice, has displayed success in 88+% of cases treated with 10-15 sessions of therapy.

What’s The Difference Between Treatment at The OCD Clinic® and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

The most widely used and researched alternative model of treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is Cognitive Behavioral approach, which has been shown to be effective and can have between 30% – 50% success in reducing the symptoms of OCD.

However according to one of its creators, many patients will continue to live with significant impairment most of their life (Abramowitz 1998). CBT Treatment also usually involves Exposure and Ritual Prevention, which is essentially finding ways to get the patient to resist their rituals while they are exposed to feared situations.

It is often for this reason that so many patients either drop out from treatment, fail or relapse. This treatment often requires the patient to undergo very stressful situations and requires long sessions of therapy with time intensive therapist involvement (Boncheck, 2009).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is best represented by a story one of our pioneers. Professor Paul Watzlawick recounted:

One day a psychiatrist is in a hospital and comes upon a patient clapping his hands every ten seconds. When asked about the reason for this strange behavior, he explains: ‘I do it in order to scare away the elephants.’ When he was told there are no elephants in the hospital, the man responded by saying: ‘Well, there you go. See? It works!’.

While this is seemingly absurd to those not familiar with non-ordinary logic, at The OCD Clinic® we see understand and are very familiar with the rigid logic that underlies such a problem and our study of such logic has allowed us to create effective and efficient treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.