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McLean researcher

Jason A. Elias: OCDI Office of Clinical Assessment and Research

Our mission is to establish this program as a center of excellence in naturalistic, clinical research that will directly improve the effectiveness of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions.

The gold standard for treating OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP). ERP changes the brain’s response to situations that trigger uncertainty and anxiety. We aim to:

  • Understand why ERP works
  • Tailor ERP treatment to individuals
  • Evaluate other innovative treatments and strategies.

During ERP therapy, patients gain experience with situations that have been avoided because they cause intense feelings of uncertainty, guilt, fear or other unpleasant emotions. Patients practice “response prevention”—staying in the situation rather than avoiding or completing compulsions—in order to build confidence and resilience.

The Institute's unique research model harnesses the creativity and expertise of physicians who treat patients every day.

The OCDI research program was founded in 1997 and became known as the Office of Clinical Assessment and Research (OCAR) in 2013.