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Overview of metacognitive training for OCD (myMCT)

MyMCT is a self-help manual that seeks to impart knowledge and coping strategies related to the “thought traps” typical of patients with OCD. Thought traps are unhelpful ways of collecting and making sense of certain information, such as paying attention to potentially dangerous aspects in the environment rather than to neutral features, thinking that everything must be perfect, or feeling overly responsible for others. They can play a role in causing OCD and its progression. However, not everything that looks like OCD is actually OCD. It is important to distinguish between an inaccurate and unhelpful thinking pattern that contributes to OCD symptoms and habits and behaviors that appear compulsive but are appropriate in a certain context and do not produce psychological strain (for example, for example, pilots or surgeons who “obsess” over details in their professional lives but not at home). We provide myMCT at no cost to people with OCD symptoms. However, the development and international distribution of these materials is an enormous task for which we need your help, so we ask you to donate if you are able. All donations go directly to our research.

MyMCT is now available in its third edition. Below please find the prefaces to the second and third editions.

Preface to the Third Edition of myMCT

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our self-help manual, now in its third edition.

The new edition has been expanded with a series of exercise worksheets. Some of the new exercises are based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; among others Steven Hayes of Nevada, USA) and Positive Psychology interventions, which include, for example, imagining desired outcomes in unclear situations. This is a method, which aims to attenuate the tendency of many affected persons to catastrophize. The general approach of our training is based on "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy", but can be understood as integrating different therapeutic "schools". In addition to our own exercises (for example association and attention splitting), we have integrated verifiably effective techniques from new therapeutic trends, which we believe to be meaningful complements.

We are especially happy to report that a completed scientific study, comparing the first edition of this manual with psychoeducation (which included e.g., general information about OCD and coping strategies), revealed an improvement in total OCD symptoms after four weeks in the group of patients that received this self-help manual. Moreover, a follow-up after six months shows an improvement in the cognitive distortions, which were addressed in the manual. In total, 128 persons with OCD took part in the study. In an ongoing study, we are now investigating if a tailored version of this self-help manual, fitted individually to the relevant cognitive distortions of the participant, is equivalent to the complete version. 

In closing, we leave you with a tip: it is neither possible nor wise to conduct all the exercises on a regular basis. Try out each of the presented exercises and integrate firmly into your daily life those exercises, which have shown themselves to be valuable to you. After a certain time, consider if it is time to move on with another myMCT exercise.

Steffen Moritz & Marit Hauschildt

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