Dysfunctional beliefs in the process of change of cognitive treatment in obsessive compulsive checkers

Polman, A., Bouman, T. K., van Geert, P. L. C., de Jong, P. J. & den Boer, J. A., 2011, In : Clinical psychology & psychotherapy. 18, 3, p. 256-273 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is considered to be effective in the reduction of obsessive compulsive symptoms. However, questions remain as to how CBT works. Cognitive-behavioural models postulate that negative appraisals of intrusive thoughts and dysfunctional beliefs that give rise to them underlie the development and maintenance of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The current study aimed to study this hypothesis by investigating the processes of change over the course of cognitive treatment for OCD. Furthermore, a new theoretical approach and method for studying processes of change was presented. The participants were seven patients suffering from OCD with predominantly checking symptoms. Process variables (beliefs, anxiety and compulsions) were measured using idiosyncratic diaries and were analysed on an intra-and inter-individual level using dynamic systems methods. Results showed significant decreases in credibility of dysfunctional beliefs in six out of the seven participants, which is in line with the cognitive-behavioural model. Associations between process variables were in general medium to high. However, the actual patterns of change showed important intra-and interpersonal differences. Results indicated that different paths can lead to clinical recovery, and it was concluded that process studies that focus on individual trajectories of change can contribute to our understanding of OCD and its treatment. Furthermore, dynamic systems methods provide insight into intra-individual processes and shed a new light on variability. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-273
Number of pages18
JournalClinical psychology & psychotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Processes of Change, Cognitive Treatment, Dysfunctional Beliefs, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Dynamic Systems Theory, Dynamic Systems Modelling, BEHAVIOR-THERAPY, PSYCHOMETRIC VALIDATION, PSYCHOTHERAPY-RESEARCH, INTRUSIONS INVENTORY, SERIES ANALYSIS, DISORDER, SCALE, DEPRESSION, SYMPTOMS, EXPOSURE

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