Do it yourself? Self-help and online therapy for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Steffen Moritz*, Charlotte E. Wittekind, Marit Hauschildt, Kiara R. Timpano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In spite of advances in the understanding and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for most patients some symptoms persist even after therapeutic intervention. Another large subgroup does not seek treatment at all, particularly due to shame or fear of stigma. The treatment gap in OCD is large and self-help is increasingly seen as a low-threshold form of intervention for individuals with minor symptoms or who are currently treatment-reluctant. Our review summarizes the expanding but still small literature on self-help and Internet interventions for OCD and provides advice on how to conduct (Internet) studies on self-help. Strategies to deal with methodological problems that notoriously plague Internet research are discussed. RECENT FINDINGS: Despite methodological limitations inherent in most studies considered for the current review, as well as the unreplicated nature of some of the more recent findings, self-help tools hold some promise. In particular, self-help interventions that are rooted in evidence-based concepts may be helpful as an add-on to standard interventions and as (initial) therapeutic strategies for those who are presently reluctant to participate in face-to-face treatment. SUMMARY: The current review identifies self-help, which is based on evidence-based concepts, as a promising clinical tool for the treatment of OCD. The current literature suggests that self-help can be a facilitator and aid to standard face-to-face interventions, rather than a rival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-548
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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