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The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

written by: Rene Wolf • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 9/2/2010

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), is a personality disorder in which the diagnosed individual becomes extremely anxious, when things are not as they perceive them to be. Notorious for their rules regarding routines, cognitive behavioral therapy is the primary recommended treatment.

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    OCPD and Medications

    Medications are not typically prescribed as a primary form of treatment for those with a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder. The symptoms of OCPD relate more to the individual's actions and behaviors, as opposed to being the result of a neurological disorder that can be treated with medication.

    However, if the individual is experiencing extreme agitation and/or depression as a result of the OCPD, they may be prescribed medications to relieve the anxiety and the depression. Psychotherapy is the recommended form of treatment - specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (a form of psychotherapy) and self-help - due to the beneficial outcomes it provides for the various symptoms of the diagnosis.

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    Thoughts, Behaviors and Actions

    The premise behind cognitive behavioral therapy is, unhealthy behavior and/or negative moods are responsible for the individual's own distorted beliefs and thoughts. It basically means that situations, other people or events are not responsible for an individual's behavior and/or mood, that they themselves are responsible. People diagnosed with OCPD typically experience thoughts that lead to their unhealthy behaviors, anxieties and inappropriate moods. Cognitive behavioral therapy assists individuals with OCPD to identify situations in a realistic manner and to become aware of their inappropriate beliefs and/or thoughts relating to the situation.

    A primary symptom of OCPD is the individual's negative thoughts in regards to a particular situation and the way they react to the thoughts. When the situation is perceived inaccurately they will react in a negative way. Cognitive behavioral therapy will challenge the individual to become aware of how they perceive any given situation, how they react to the situation and provide tools to alter their misconceptions.

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    Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With OCPD

    Utilizing the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of OCPD will help the individual, to become aware of and identify any situations that may be attributing to the symptoms such as divorce or grief due to loss of job or loved one. The individual will become aware of their emotions, beliefs and thoughts relating to the situations influencing their behaviors and learn to express their interpretation of the situation or event. Eventually the individual will have the tools, to replace the inappropriate thoughts and/or behaviors with thoughts that are more positive and appropriate.

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    Learning To Cope

    Cognitive behavioral therapy was not designed to get rid of the unpleasant situations or to cure obsessive compulsive personality disorder, but it will provide the tools needed to handle unpleasant situations in a healthy way. The therapy will help the individual to gain better understanding of situations, learn to identify and change their negative thoughts or behaviors, feel better about themselves, set realistic goals and find ways of solving or coping with their problems.

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