Swinburne offers an OCD treatment program for sufferers

Monday 11 August 2014

The square Swinburne logo on the west side of the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre building in Hawthorn.

More than 450,000 Australians suffer from distressing thoughts or impulses, which compel them to perform behavioural or mental rituals to find relief. Known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), this condition can be successfully treated.

Over 20 years ago, an OCD group treatment program was developed, based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).  Headed by psychologist, Dr Sunil Bhar, this 10-week program now operates out of Swinburne University of Technology’s Psychology Clinic.

OCD is a mental health disorder that is often misrepresented in mainstream media.

“Jack Nicholson’s unsympathetic portrayal of a person with OCD in As Good As It Gets is often what comes to mind when people hear of OCD, but it doesn’t nearly capture the anxiety and struggle this disorder brings,” said Dr Bhar.

“There are some TV programs, however, that have accurately depicted the reality of OCD. The BBC documentary, Extreme OCD Camp, which aired on the ABC recently, revealed the enormous courage and willpower those with OCD employ when undergoing treatment. 

“The group environment shown in Extreme OCD Camp is ideal for treating OCD, as participants are supported by others engaged in the same struggle.  The group provides evidence that each participant is not alone.”

Under Dr Bhar’s guidance at the Swinburne Psychology Clinic, participants learn about OCD, and engage in a powerful therapy which involves being exposed to distressing thoughts or impulses without performing the rituals which would usually bring about relief.

The program, which is open to the public, has been shown to reduce the symptoms of OCD, with gains being maintained six months later.

For further information you can contact the clinic on 9214 5528 or visit the website: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/lss/psychology/pc/

Dr Sunil Bhar is available for interview, and may be contacted on 9214 8371.  His email address is sbhar@swin.edu.au.