Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Clinic (OCRDC)

Lindsay Brauer, Ph.D., Jon Grant, JD, MD, MPH

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorders is characterized by the presence of intrusive, unwanted thoughts and images which increase one’s anxiety, and promote engagement in repetitive behaviors.  Common themes of intrusive thoughts are: fear of physical or mental/emotional contamination, desire for symmetry, needing a “just right” feeling, fear of harming one’s self or others, concerns of sexual orientation or taboo thoughts, hoarding/saving obsessions, scrupulosity, preoccupation with physical health, and having a strong preference or strong dislike of certain words, numbers, or colors. Compulsions, or repetitive behaviors which are aimed to “undo” or neutralize the intrusive thought can be performed physical or mentally, and often include: repeating behaviors, attempting to “undo” a thought, excessive reassurance-seeking, or avoidance of triggering situations.  Both obsessions and compulsions cause significant distress and functional impairment.

What are Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)?

Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder are two types of BFRBs.  Trichotillomania refers to the repetitive, uncontrollable pulling of hair from one’s body, and Excoriation Disorder is the recurrent, uncontrollable picking of one’s skin.  Both disorders result in significant physical damage and emotional distress, as the behaviors are often difficult to curtail.

How are OCRDs treated at the University of Chicago?

In the OCRDC, we provide evidence-based treatment for adolescents and adults with OCD and BFRBs.  Such strategies include exposure and response prevention, the “gold standard” treatment for OCD, as well as strategies to enhance emotion regulation and adaptive coping with stressors which promote vulnerability to OCD and BFRBs.

During an initial evaluation, we aim to assess symptom presentation, treatment goals, and the level of treatment appropriate for each person.  We offer treatment ranging from sessions once per week to daily, intensive treatment.  We also offer medication consultation and management.

How do I learn more information about being treated through the OCRDC at the University of Chicago?

If you’re interested in learning more about the services offered through the OCRDC at the University of Chicago, please contact the Director of Behavioral Interventions, Dr. Lindsay Brauer, Ph.D (lbrauer1@yoda.bsd.uchicago.edu; 773-702-2285).  We accept many insurances, which can be verified by contacting our intake office (773-702-3858).

Additional Information: