Date of Award
Master of Science
Behavior Analysis and Therapy
An individual who had been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Schizoaffective Disorder requested assistance with improving his ability to manage symptoms. He had a history of long-term hospitalizations that impacted his placements in residential facilities. He was treated using exposure and response prevention procedures applied to specific rituals pertaining to compulsive bed making, organization, excessive emptying of vacuum canister, excessive hand washing and excessive laundering of clothing. A baseline was established for each ritual by the experimenter exposing the subject to the conditions that "triggered" the rituals. The latency was measured between the presentation of those conditions and the onset of the ritual. During treatment, the subject initiated the same conditions and then refrained from engaging in his rituals for a specific amount of time. Initially, the requested time was the average amount of time he was able to refrain from ritualizing in the baseline sessions. Then, the subject initiated exposure and refrained from the ritual for an increasing amount of time until he was able to refrain for 15 minutes or longer for three ritualistic behaviors. A multiple baseline analysis across rituals indicated that during the course of treatment, over a period of about 4 months, his ability to tolerate the triggers for his rituals was increased to the point that he did not engage in the rituals during the sessions.
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