The following case report presents a 46-year-old female inpatient with obsessive-compulsive disorder who was treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (focus on exposure response management). Additionally, this patient took part in an add-on intervention termed 'association splitting'. This is a new cognitive technique aiming at the reduction of obsessive thoughts. Its efficacy is currently evaluated with funds granted by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The new technique draws upon the so-called 'fan effect' of associative priming and posits that the sprouting and strengthening of neutral associations to core obsessive-compulsive cognitions diminishes the strength of existing associations and, hence, leads to a reduction of the obsessive thoughts. Using the example of a patient with the fear of contamination and dirt, giving rise to compulsive washing, association splitting is introduced. The therapy process is described and psychopathological data at 3 time points are presented.
- Cognitive technique
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Semantic networks
- Symptom reduction