OCAR Lab

OCDI & OCAR

The OCD Institute (OCDI) was founded in 1997 and its research program became known as the Office of Clinical Assessment and Research (OCAR) in 2012. The primary goal of OCAR is to improve the lives of current and future patients by:

  1. Advancing the science and practice of exposure therapy and its behavioral and biological complements
  2. Increasing the effectiveness of treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions

The OCDI treatment program is a rich environment for informing clinical practice with research driven by the complex questions and practical issues faced in the day to day effort to help patients overcome their OCD. By design, OCAR includes a multidisciplinary team of clinical researchers who strive to integrate a variety of methods such as genetics, brain imaging, and physiology with behavioral observation and patient self-report data.

Research Areas

The gold standard for treating OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. Yet, OCAR research shows that many patients (approximately 25%) refuse this form of treatment and a surprising number of patients (approximately 20-50%) who try ERP do not benefit.

OCAR primarily focuses on:

  • Understanding why ERP works
  • Learning how to individualize treatment (e.g., examining predictors of response and their underlying processes/mechanisms including biological and physiological factors)
  • Evaluating innovative treatments and improvements to them (e.g., acceptance and commitment therapy; optimization of inhibitory learning; computerized cognitive trainings)

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