Despite the efficacy of exposure and response prevention (ERP) in treating OCD, factors such as treatment refusal, dropping out of treatment, and inability to use treatment gains outside of therapy serve as obstacles to decreasing symptoms. Motivational interviewing (MI) is an intervention that serves to enhance a person’s motivation and dedication to stick to meaningful changes.
This study by Dr. McCabe and her team aimed to explored whether adding three sessions of MI before a 15-session ERP course would boost the efficacy of ERP, prevent drop-out, and promote engaging in ERP’s homework assignments. 20 people with OCD were randomly placed into the MI+ERP group, while 20 others were randomly placed into an ERP group that would receive three sessions of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR; a treatment that promotes relaxation) before ERP. The results showed that MI was not more effective than PMR at preventing drop-out (both groups had low drop-out rates), but that MI led to less severe OCD symptoms at the end of ERP (however, at 12-month follow-up, both groups had similar severity of OCD symptoms). There was no general advantage of MI at 12-month follow-up as both groups saw significant reduction of symptoms, but the results showed that MI could potentially be beneficial when added to ERP.
*McCabe, R.E., Rowa, K., Farrell, N.R., Young, L., Swinson, R.P., & Antony, M.M. (2019). Improving treatment outcome in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Does motivational interviewing boost efficacy? Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 22: 100446. doi://10.1016/j.jocrd.2019.100446