Throw away and pull towards: A new way to challenge OCD related cognitions using the GGRO mobile application training platform.
Authors: M. Roncero, B. Pascual, S. Arnáez, M. Giraldo-O’Meara, G. García-Soriano, A. Belloch, and G. Doron.
According to cognitive models of OCD, obsessive compulsive symptoms result from catastrophic misinterpretations of commonly occurring intrusive thoughts, images and urges and the use of counterproductive strategies used to manage them. Maladaptive beliefs such as inflated responsibility/threat, importance and control of thoughts, perfectionism and intolerance for uncertainty increase the likelihood of such negative interpretations of intrusive experience. Indeed, traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) includes a variety of intervention to challenge maladaptive beliefs including behavioral experiments and cognitive reconstruction. Consistent with a growing body of literature supporting the usefulness of mobile based technologies in fostering cognitive behavior change, the present study assessed the effectiveness of a novel cognitive training exercise designed to challenge OCD related cognitive beliefs. This mobile technology (application) based training exercise consists of users having to pull statements challenging OCD-related beliefs towards themselves (downwards) and to throw away (push upwards) contra-productive self-statements Method: 33 third year BA students started the trial. Seventeen completed both pre and post measures of OCD symptoms, OCD related beliefs and mood. Participants were instructed to complete two minutes of daily training (3 training levels) for a period of 15 days. Results: Repeated-measures ANOVA of the 17 completers showed a significant reductions on all OCD symptoms measures and on OCD-beliefs. No significant differences were found between completers and no-completers on demographic and symptom related measures at Time 1. No significant reduction was found in depression symptoms. Discussion: This innovative mobile technology based training exercise may be useful in reducing OCD-related beliefs levels and associated symptoms. The use of this and similar mobile training platforms holds promise for low intensity psychological treatments recommended by NICE (2005), and may be effective as prevention tool for those people at risk of suffering OCD. Limitation: This is an open trial with relatively small student sample.