Comments on the Psychological Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Patients

  • Leon Salzman


As a guiding principle, the remediation of emotional disorders requires basic agreements between therapist and patient prior to initiating treatment. Many of these requirements are inimical to the obsessional defensive structure, which tends to make the process of therapy difficult, tedious, and sometimes unrewarding. Although this is notably the case in the psychodynamic approaches, other modalities such as hypnosis, cognitive therapy, and behavioral therapy are also handicapped by the rigidities, avoidance of risk taking, lack of commitment, and related characterological problems of the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patient. The excessive zeal, which often looks like active cooperation, may, by its very intensity, complicate or undermine the therapeutic program. These issues need to be addressed, irrespective of the therapeutic modality. On the other hand, the intricacies and variety of defensive tactics that characterize the human brain are often “played out” in this disorder. Thus, the therapist will have a fascinating and rewarding encounter if he or she can be free, flexible, and open to the complexity of these maneuvers.


Psychological Treatment Risk Taking Compulsive Symptom Defensive Tactic Excessive Zeal 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leon Salzman
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown University Medical SchoolUSA

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