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Use of Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) as Stand-Alone Treatment for OCD

Starting Date: 2/17

Research Objective

The first study of its kind, researchers will investigate an ideographic version (individualized version) of attention retraining for OCD on a hand held device as a stand-alone method of treatment. 

Participants/Pre-Screening Criteria

  • About 60 adults who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) criteria for OCD will participate.
  • Participants must not have received therapy within the last 90 days or be currently engaged in any other form of treatment for their OCD (besides psychotropic medications).
  • Half of the participants will be assigned to an active group, the other half to a placebo group.


  • This is a double-blind study in which neither the participants nor the researchers know who is receiving treatment and who is part of the placebo group. This procedure prevents bias in research results.
  • During this study, participants meet individually with a member of the research team a total of nine times at Rogers Behavioral Health’s Oconomowoc or Brown Deer location.
  • The first visit is used for introductions and to determine eligibility for the study. A Research Associate does a clinical interview with the potential participant to make sure they have OCD and to determine baseline OCD symptoms.
  • The participant will also do a series of self-assessments about mental health symptoms, including anxiety and depression.
  • The content (word choices for display on the iPhone application) is then individualized for each participant, with a selection of 24 neutral words and 24 words that the participant perceives as threatening.
  • (The participant is taught how to use the app at the beginning of the second visit.)
  • Following the first visit, the remaining eight (twice weekly for four weeks) are tightly structured with participants using the CBM interactive application and completing a series of assessments.


  • Only key research personnel will have access to the encrypted data files and will conduct analysis using this information.

Researchers will analyze the response data, comparing the active and placebo groups, in order to assess if the iPhone application was successful as stand-alone treatment to decrease OCD symptoms for the study participants.

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