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The Canadian Treatment Centre for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (CTCOCD) is the national specialized treatment center for OCD and related disorders throughout the lifespan: children, adolescents, and adults. Specialized treatments are offered to Canadians from all provinces and regions as well as to international residents. The psychotherapeutic evidence-based treatment of choice for OCD and related disorders is specialized cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), informed by cutting-edge research and developmentally adapted for each person.

CTCOCD specialized programs are tailored for persons whose symptoms and related difficulties range from very mild and newly developed to very severe and longstanding. Clinical research indicates that individuals suffering from OCD and related disorders should seek specialized treatment as soon as possible following symptom development in order to prevent deterioration in symptoms and related difficulties and to expedite return to normal life activities.

Highly specialized CTCOCD services to optimize timely recovery are individualized and include weekly office based sessions, therapist assisted home based specialty treatments, and/or intensive treatment programs. Specialized intensive treatment programs for local and out of town patients are administered as needed by a team of experts and involve prolonged sessions several times weekly or daily. Strategies to enhance resilience and generalization of change, relapse prevention, and booster sessions are integral to treatment. Internet-based or phone sessions are possible for individuals in remote regions who cannot access specialized care. Psychiatric and pharmacological consultation and treatment are available with experienced staff psychiatrists affiliated with the CTCOCD in order to ensure collaborative care as needed. Treatment is not time-limited and services are bilingual.

The CTCOCD Director Dr. Debbie Sookman, an internationally known expert in assessment and treatment of OCD and related disorders, offers consultation and treatment to patients of all ages and oversees the team of highly skilled therapists who also administer treatment.

Consultations, ongoing supervision, and training in specialized cognitive behavior therapy for pediatric and adult cases are offered to professionals and post-doc and doctoral students (local, national, and international).


Initial specialized consultation

Individuals may request a consultation to obtain further information, for advice, or to be considered for treatment.

The initial consultation consists of one or two interviews with an expert to assess symptoms, related difficulties, interference with functioning, and your treatment goals. The patient, or in the case of a minor child the parents or guardians, receive detailed recommendations.  Information is provided about the causes and specialized treatment alternatives.

A specialty treatment plan is developed collaboratively for each person. For mild symptoms this may include only a few sessions and tips you can do at home. For very severe symptoms this may include an intensive treatment program. In general, children tend to improve even faster than adults in many cases regardless of symptom severity.


Treatment for every child, adolescent, or adult is individually developed based on his or her age, resources, and needs.  Specialized CBT interventions are offered for all the specific subtypes and symptoms of OCD  and their related difficulties, including contamination fears, excessive checking, perfectionism, counting or ordering, “not just right” feelings, obsessions with religious, sexual, and aggressive themes; and distressing sensory experiences.

Specialized cognitive therapy is generally offered first to help the person to cope with and to reduce repetitive obsessive thoughts, distress and anxiety,  urges to perform rituals, and feelings of depression.

Specialized cognitive therapy (CT)

  • re-appraise and adaptively cope with distressing thoughts and feelings and external events
  • modify information processing that perpetuates symptoms (e.g., magical thinking, thought-action fusion)
  • reduce fear and associated symptoms
  • reduce uncertainty and self-doubt
  • reduce overestimations of threat
  • modify personal meanings from threatening to benign
  • restore confidence in judgment and memory

Specialized behavioural strategies (BT)

  • learn to master distressing situations with practice of new coping strategies
  • disprove unrealistic expectations and fears that cause symptoms
  • achieve healthy learning with practice of new skills
  • reduce uncertainty and self-doubt
  • resolve rituals, avoidance, and excessive safety behaviors
  • improve self-efficacy and autonomy

Skills strategies

  • stress management, decision making, problem solving
  • school and/or work
  • self and child care
  • interpersonal or family issues
  • flexibility and resilience
  • self-esteem
  • get your “life back”

Involvement of family or significant others
(with consent)

  • education about the disorder
  • specific recommendations to help your loved one to overcome symptoms
  • many specific skills strategies (e.g., what to say and do)
  • collaboration during home visits or intensive treatment programs
  • support groups

Relapse prevention and boosters

  • increase the chances of recovery
  • decrease the chances of relapse under stress
  • generalize and consolidate gains