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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating illness consisting of unwanted thoughts and time-consuming rituals that can significantly limit a person’s ability to function in daily life.
In 1997, we opened our doors as the country’s first residential treatment program for this condition. Since then, the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI) has served as a leader in the advancement of clinical care and research for OCD and related disorders in children and adults. Our experts are ready to help you.
Our programs are ideal for individuals with moderate to severe or treatment-resistant OCD and its most common co-occurring disorders such as major depression and anxiety disorders.
Our adult program is most appropriate for individuals ages 18 and older. Our program for children and adolescents, OCDI Jr., is best suited for ages 10 to 18.
Adult residents’ average length of stay is between 30 and 90 days. At OCDI Jr., most commonly, youth stay for 2 months in residential care. The OCDI is covered by most health insurance providers, but self-pay is possible.
We primarily use two methods to treat OCD. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy allows individuals to gradually face their obsessional cues in order to build confidence with triggers and ultimately inhibit future compulsive responses. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) promotes a willingness to accept and address, rather than avoid, difficult thoughts and emotions and may reduce barriers to other forms of treatment. These treatment approaches are proven to help individuals struggling with OCD, anxiety, and related disorders.
“It was life-changing being at the OCDI. The staff, along with my parents, changed my life. I have an entirely different perception of my emotions and believe that the classes and groups will vastly reduce the re-occurrence of major depressive episodes.”– Patient treated at the OCDI
Educational services are also available for children and teens to help our young patients keep up with schoolwork during their time at the program.
The OCDI is located on McLean’s historic Belmont campus. The programs offer a pleasant and peaceful environment that is conducive to helping patients focus on their treatment. Our expert staff specialize in OCD and related mental health disorders and are devoted to improving the quality of life of patients and their families. Our 24-hour care also includes available emergency psychiatric and medical personnel.
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The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute takes a robust approach to patient care. We use evidence-based models, family-focused therapy, and cutting-edge treatments.
Staff focus on creating a customized treatment plan for each individual based on his or her specific symptoms, the severity of the symptoms, and other coexisting psychiatric diagnoses. We work in close partnership with patients and their families and emphasize patient self-motivation.
Treatment plans regularly include a combination of individual and group therapies, a variety of behavioral therapies, and medication that help patients manage their symptoms and transition back to their daily lives.
Our primary treatment is exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy—a behavioral therapy that allows patients to engage directly with obsessional cues in a manner that builds confidence and competence with OCD triggers and ultimately leads to inhibition of future fear responses.
In order to customize the best program for each individual to help ensure success, we also incorporate other approaches, tools, and techniques that enhance motivation. These can include elements of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), two behavioral therapies that focus on thoughts and actions.
Upon admission, each patient receives a diagnostic assessment and completes an array of objective measures. These assessments are administered by our OCDI Office of Clinical Assessment and Research. We use the information to establish a treatment plan that incorporates the best therapies and strategies for addressing the patient’s symptoms, meeting challenges, and setting goals.
By establishing a critical baseline of symptoms, we can also track progress throughout the duration of treatment and even after patients have returned home. OCD takes many forms. Consistent reevaluation allows us to monitor our patients’ gains.
With permission from the patient, we make use of the data we collect clinically to answer important questions about OCD and how to best treat it. Having a team devoted entirely to clinical assessment and research is invaluable, as it helps us better serve our patients and continually improve our program while we search for new and innovative ways to treat OCD.
Residents and partial hospital (day program) patients follow the same structured schedule, a combination of group, family, and individual therapy targeted at reducing the severity of the patient’s symptoms and providing the individual with tools to prevent relapse. The schedule is designed to engage patients in their treatment. Each day is carefully planned with ample time for self-focus and group work and to maintain the important balance between work and leisure.
Each patient works with a behavioral therapist (a licensed psychologist or social worker) several times a week. The therapist develops a plan that serves as a guideline for staff to ensure quality and consistency in treatment. The plan identifies obsessions, compulsions, and avoidance behaviors, provides a menu of exposures for staff to implement, and recommends special instructions for each patient.
Patients meet with a psychiatrist weekly, or more frequently if required, for medication management. The nursing and counseling staff are also certified in medication administration.
In general, group therapy focuses on helping patients become more open and willing to participate in treatment. Groups also include topics like decreasing behavioral symptoms; increasing normalized family, work, and social functioning; and improving access to education and support.
Through group therapy we teach skills in areas where people with OCD typically have deficits, including becoming more fully engaged in treatment by learning mindfulness, scheduling, social skills, and goal setting. There are also a wide assortment of groups pertaining to specific symptoms that allow patients to learn key interventions for their individual diagnoses.
The specifics of the day’s schedule vary from day to day so that on a weekly basis group therapy covers a wide range of topics including mindfulness, motivation, cognitive behavior therapy, expressive therapies, and more. We also incorporate both didactic and skills-based groups, as well as activity therapies.
The OCDI leads the way in the advancement of clinical care, education, and research to help patients, families, and health care providers understand and more effectively treat OCD.
Research shows that expressive therapies such as music and art improve clinical and behavioral outcomes, reduce stress and anxiety, and give patients a better sense of well-being. We offer a holistic balance of yoga and mindfulness as well as music and art therapy classes, run by a team of expressive therapists who specialize in mental health care.
As a component of treatment, we take our residents on community outings, such as outdoor recreation, movie theaters, shopping, and museums to practice newly acquired skills.
Our care for children and adolescents also extends to academics. Certified teachers who are extensively trained in mental health settings work with the children and teens’ local school districts for two hours of tailored instruction per day. Through this service, we create a supportive learning environment in which children can continue their studies and earn school credit during their stay.
The priority of family therapy is to provide education about OCD that best supports the patient’s home life. This can mean working to stop accommodating behaviors, which are very common in the families of people with OCD. Families also learn more helpful responses to a patient’s symptoms in the home environment. This close alliance and education of the family system significantly helps the patient transition back home successfully once treatment is over, and also helps to reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Each patient is assigned to one of the program’s independently licensed family therapists who facilitates weekly family sessions and works with the patient and family to create an aftercare plan. It is the expectation that incoming adult patients identify at least one person in their life to engage in the treatment, be it a family member or a friend.
Parents and caregivers of OCDI Jr. patients are required to be active partners in treatment.
Therapists meet with parents to help them become coaches in their child’s treatment to assist with applying skills and the transition to home and school environments. Sessions are conducted over the phone with family or significant friends who don’t live in the area. Toward the end of treatment, parents are invited to come and spend a week at OCDI Jr. to learn needed skills to help their children transition home and maintain the gains they have made.
The OCDI offers a day (partial hospital) program for individuals who do not require 24-hour care yet need more structure than is available in outpatient treatment.
This level of care is appropriate for patients whose symptoms do not interfere with their ability to travel to the program and who are able to successfully manage their symptoms while at home.
Many of our adult partial hospital patients have completed our residential program and are in need of less intensive treatment.
At OCDI Jr., we use partial hospital care as a step-down at the end of residential treatment. This allows us to gradually transition patients and prepare them to leave the program. Parents are invited to attend the program for 1-4 weeks, depending on their child’s progress, to ensure adequate transitional care.
Patients within the partial hospital program attend the same structured schedule and individual and group therapy sessions as residents while spending their evenings at home practicing the skills they have learned during the day.
The emphasis of the day program is to provide a sufficient level of stability for the patient to be able to gradually leave treatment.
The partial hospital program operates daily, Monday through Friday.
The OCDI research program aims to improve treatments for OCD and related conditions. Founded in 1997, the program was renamed the Office of Clinical Assessment and Research (OCAR) in 2013.
The OCDI’s treatment program is a rich environment for informing clinical practice. Research is driven by the complex questions and practical issues faced in the daily effort to help patients overcome their OCD.
By design, OCAR includes a diverse staff of clinical researchers. The team examines OCD and its treatments using observation of patient behaviors and self-report data. They combine this with other factors, such as genetics, brain imaging, and biology.
The gold standard for treating OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. OCAR aims to improve the lives of current and future patients by advancing the science and practice of exposure therapy.
OCAR focuses on understanding why ERP works. They help tailor treatment to the individual by examining responses and their underlying processes in the brain and body. The team also evaluates innovative treatments and improvements to them. This includes tools such as acceptance and commitment therapy and computerized cognitive trainings.
In addition, OCAR examines other areas to help improve OCD treatments and outcomes. Current research at the adult program includes studying sleep phases, family accommodations, identity status, and more. As digital methods advance, OCAR is looking into the benefits of technology interventions and tools. The use of computer tests and data collection through devices like smartphones and fitness trackers may prove invaluable for both research and treatments.
At OCDI Jr., our clinician-researchers are examining family factors that influence treatment outcomes and exploring support systems for parents raising children with OCD. Staff are also investigating digital technologies, like virtual reality, that enhance treatment and outcomes.
Though patients at the OCDI may be asked to take part in OCAR research, participation is not required and does not affect access to care.
The OCDI is suitable for children, teens, and adults ages 10 and older with moderate to severe or treatment-resistant OCD and its most common coexisting disorders. This includes major depression and anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, specific phobias, panic attacks, and separation anxiety.
Our program is appropriate for those who could benefit from intensive residential or partial hospital (day program) care.
For further information about our program or to make a referral, please contact our admission staff:
The OCDI is covered by most insurance providers. Self-pay is also accepted at OCDI Jr.
We understand that navigating the insurance system can be challenging, which is why we assist prospective patients to help determine eligibility. We welcome your questions and concerns and have a dedicated staff to help you.
McLean Hospital accepts Medicare, Massachusetts Medicaid, and many private insurance and managed care plans. More information on insurance providers accepted by McLean Hospital may be found on the Mass General Brigham website. You may also find it beneficial to review McLean’s patient billing and financial assistance information.
We evaluate individuals prior to admission to ensure the program is a good fit, which includes meeting a specific set of criteria. Once forms are returned to the program, we can help determine if the OCDI is an appropriate option.
Prospective adult patients or their families should fill out the OCDI Patient Referral Form. The patient’s treatment provider fills out the OCDI Treatment Provider Referral Form. Both forms are required before a patient’s potential admission can be assessed.
Families of children or adolescents should fill out the OCDI Jr. Patient Referral Form. This form is required to begin assessing potential patient admission. The patient’s clinician should fill out the OCDI Jr. Treatment Provider Referral Form. The treatment provider form is also required for admission, but can be submitted at any time in the admission process.
If you need assistance with the forms or the admission process, please contact the program using the information provided above.
Diane Davey, RN, MBA, Program Director, OCDI
Ms. Davey has worked in residential and inpatient programs at McLean since 1985. In 1997, she was the co-founder of the OCDI and has since served as program director. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the International OCD Foundation, has given many local and national talks about OCD, and is active in raising awareness about OCD and related disorders.
Maria G Fraire, PhD, Program Director, OCDI Jr.
Dr. Fraire specializes in the treatment of severe anxiety, OCD, and co-occurring disorders, specifically utilizing cognitive behavior therapy and exposure and response prevention. Her research interests include advancing the understanding of underlying processes related to anxiety and co-occurring disorders and developing specifically tailored treatments for anxiety and complex coexisting conditions. In addition to her clinical and research duties, Dr. Fraire is involved in program development and staff training.
Brian P. Brennan, MD, MMSc, Medical Director, OCDI
Dr. Brennan is also the associate director of translational neuroscience research in the Biological Psychiatry Laboratory and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The primary focus of Dr. Brennan’s research is the identification of novel biological targets for the development of improved therapeutics for OCD and related disorders.
Perihan Esra Guvenek-Cokol, MD, Medical Director, OCDI Jr.
Dr. Guvenek-Cokol is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, specializing in psychotic disorders and childhood anxiety disorders. In addition to her role as medical director for the STAR Program, she is medical director for Appleton, a residential treatment program.
Jason Krompinger, PhD, Director of Psychological Services and Clinical Research
Dr. Krompinger is a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating obsessive compulsive and related disorders using cognitive behavior therapy and in psychophysiological research methods. At the OCDI, he is involved in training and supervising clinical staff, students, and early-career psychologists. He also helps oversee program development and evaluation.
Jennifer Barnes Villa, MD, Assistant Medical Director, OCDI
Dr. Barnes also provides care in the Clinical Evaluation Center and is involved with supervising medical students and residents. She has special interests in obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders in general, having completed her residency training at Brown University, where she obtained specialty training in OCD. Prior to joining McLean, Dr. Barnes was engaged in the treatment of mental illness in both inpatient and outpatient environments.
Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, Senior Clinical Consultant, OCDI Jr.
Dr. Coyne has worked with young people for nearly 20 years, is on the faculty of the International OCD Foundation Behavior Therapy Training Institute, and is an internationally recognized acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting and is the author of The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years.
Michael Jenike, MD, Founder
Dr. Jenike is the founder of the OCDI and the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Clinic and Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is recognized as a world-renowned researcher, having published over 200 articles on OCD and other topics. He is currently the principal investigator of an OCD longitudinal family study that seeks to examine the clinical, genetic, imaging, and neurocognitive areas of this disorder.
Working in close partnership with patients and families, our clinicians create and provide tailored treatment plans and high-quality care that meets each patient’s needs. Our expert clinical team includes board-certified psychiatrists, licensed psychologists and family therapists, registered nurses, certified teachers, and expressive therapists. Our clinicians have experience working with patients from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds from across the country and around the world.
Our staff members are trained in assessing and treating complex OCD and related conditions through exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). All counselors receive specific training in working with patients who live with OCD and other anxiety disorders. They are also trained in general crisis prevention/intervention, CPR, and group leadership skills. Our team of well-trained and compassionate clinicians foster an environment to help our patients to succeed.
The OCDI operates within the Center of Excellence in Depression and Anxiety Disorders, led by Chief Scientific Officer Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD. OCDI Jr. is also supported by the Simches Center of Excellence in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, led by Chief Medical Officer Joseph Gold, MD.
The adult residential and day program is located in North Belknap, one of several historic buildings on McLean’s Belmont campus. The program offers a pleasant and peaceful environment that helps patients focus on their treatment. For our residential patients, accommodations and amenities are designed to provide a home-like environment. This allows patients the chance to work on real-life challenges. Our facilities offer comfortable bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, common areas for groups, a laundry area, and access to a fitness facility with state-of-the-art equipment and certified staff.
For adults that desire luxury accommodations, our Lincoln Residence is located near the Belmont campus in Lincoln, Massachusetts. This residence offers private rooms, full baths, catered meals, and a kitchen stocked with snacks and beverages. There is a tennis court and exercise room, health club membership, and transportation services to and from the OCDI. Please note that while treatment at the OCDI is covered by insurance, the Lincoln Residence is a self-pay option. Please inquire about this alternative living situation when contacting our admissions staff.
OCDI Jr. is located at East House, another historic building on McLean’s Belmont campus. At our dorm-like facility, we provide cutting-edge treatment delivered in a sensitive and nurturing manner. Amenities include a video games, wireless internet access, fitness and recreation, and comfortable, light-filled rooms.
The OCDI is located on McLean’s Belmont campus, in North Belknap and East House. For more information on directions, parking, and local accommodations, please visit our Maps & Directions page.
The OCDI focuses on treating adults and children who have not had adequate access to proper treatments for OCD and other severe anxiety disorders or who have tried outpatient treatment for OCD but found that they need more intensive treatment. The program is ideal for individuals who are willing and motivated for treatment and are able to engage in a rigorous treatment program.
Family and/or other supports are expected to be actively involved in treatment via weekly meetings and/or conference calls with our licensed family therapists. This allows families the chance to learn about OCD and how to best support their loved ones. In addition, OCDI Jr. educates and coaches families to continue the work as the child transitions out of the program.
For adult residents, smoking is allowed in designated outdoor areas only. No smoking is allowed inside any of our buildings. OCDI Jr. is a smoke-free program and medical marijuana is not allowed.
Adult residents may have visitors—around treatment expectations—until 10pm daily. Visitation takes place in common areas only.
Visiting hours at OCDI Jr. take place daily around dinner time, with extended hours during the evening and on weekends.
Adult patients are allowed to have cell phones as long as they abide by program cell phone policies, including guidelines to prevent disruption of the program and other patients.
At OCDI Jr., tablets owned by McLean are available during admission as a means of video communication with family and to facilitate exposure treatment. Personal cell phones and tablets are not permitted while in the program. Portable music players (e.g., iPods) with no other functionality may be permitted.
While our first priority is treatment, we recognize the importance of education for our younger patients. Certified teachers extensively trained in mental health settings work with the children and adolescents’ local school districts in order to provide two hours of tailored instruction per day. Through this service, we create a supportive learning environment in which children can continue their studies and earn school credit during their stay.
The treatment team works closely with the individual as well as with family, significant friends, and outside providers to develop a personalized aftercare plan. Recommendations by staff are made based upon clinical needs, progress made during treatment, and long-term treatment goals.
All requests for medical records should be directed to McLean’s Health Information Management Department.
To complement our programs’ services and encourage individuals’ initiatives in their own treatment course, many self-help groups are hosted by McLean.
Since the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI) opened its doors in 1997, research has played an integral role in helping to develop innovative treatment approaches to OCD. With permission, patients and families may be asked to participate in clinical research conducted by the OCDI Office of Clinical Assessment and Research.
McLean is dedicated to maintaining high-quality and effective patient care. To ensure that those standards remain at the highest level, we use a number of feedback instruments and quality indicators. Among these tools are the Perceptions of Care survey which monitors patient satisfaction and BASIS-24™, a psychiatric outcomes measurement tool created at McLean and widely used in the U.S. and around the world, which delivers feedback on the patient care experience.
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