In Summary

  • International researchers to discuss future of OCD treatments
  • Building on Swinburne's existing OCD research 
  • The first forum of its kind 

The future of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) treatment will be the focus of a global forum hosted by Swinburne University of Technology.  

Featuring international researchers from renowned universities, the forum will focus on identifying research that needs to be done over the next decade to advance psychological treatments for OCD. 

OCD is characterised by the presence of recurring intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses – obsessions, and repetitive behavioural and mental rituals – compulsions. People with OCD are usually aware that their symptoms are irrational and excessive, but they find the obsessions uncontrollable and the compulsions difficult or impossible to resist. 

Psychology Associate Professor Sunil Bhar says Swinburne has been at the forefront of OCD treatment for many years. 

“We run a highly effective outpatient OCD group program based on cognitive behaviour therapy principles. 

“Swinburne has developed innovative treatment programs to help those suffering from OCD. These include our online STOP Therapy program, which can be completed entirely online,” Associate Professor Bhar says. 

Swinburne is also renowned for its research into OCD and related disorders, in particular into the treatment of OCD, and the neurocognitive and psychological mechanisms of OCD, such as memory, identity, shame and ambivalence says Associate Professor Bhar. 

“We have advanced imaging facilities, including the Magnetoencephalogram (MEG)  and Electroencephalogram (EEG)  machines, which can help identify neurocognitive processes. 

“This is the first time that such internationally renowned researchers have come together to reflect on the big questions in the research on OCD treatment. 

“We aim to submit a series of blueprint papers to an international journal summarising gaps in research, and directions to advance the treatment of OCD.” 

The forum will focus on four themes: 

Exposure and response prevention - can we do better?
Professor Gail Steketee and Associate Professor Maureen Whittal

Are cognitive models and interventions useful beyond exposure and response prevention?
Dr David Veale

Homogeneity and heterogeneity of obsessive-compulsive phenomena
Professor Randy Frost

Self, cognitive and meta-cognitive vulnerabilities to OCD – do we know any more than we did 20 years ago?
Professor David A Clark