2003 OCF Grant

The effects of brief consultation to families of OCD treatment refusers: A pilot outcome study

Melanie M. VanDyke, PhD & C. Alec Pollard, PhD

St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute (St. Louis, MO)

Award Amount: $30,000

Although multiple treatment modalities can reduce or remove OCD symptoms, some people with OCD refuse to engage in them. This can be for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty or fear, and dissatisfaction with prior treatments.

Drs. VanDyke and Pollard, as well as the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, developed an approach to help families refocus their efforts on what they can change instead of working to change a person with OCD who refuses treatment. With a sample of 20 family participants, the team tested their Brief Family Consultation (BFC) against a credible control/placebo treatment (an educational intervention consisting of standard information about OCD and its treatment). BFC consisted of interventions designed to reduce family accommodation, curtail expressed hostility within the family, and promote recovery-compatible behavior in the treatment-refuser. The results found that the BFC was significantly more effective at reducing family accommodation for people with OCD and improving quality of life among families. Interventions developed from the BFC have been taught to hundreds of clinicians, and served to upgrade the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute’s Family Well-Being Approach.


Resulting Publications:

Pollard, C.A. (2013). Helping the Families of Treatment-Refusers: A New Option for Clinicians and Consumers. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, La Jolla, CA.

Pollard, C.A., VanDyke, M., Mitchell, G., Pollard, H, & Mathis, G. (in press). The Family Trap: What to Do When a Loved One Won’t Seek Help. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

VanDyke, M., Pollard, C.A., Harper, J., & Conlon, K.E. (2015). Brief Family Consultation to families of treatment-refusers with symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Does it impact family accommodation and quality of life? Psychology, 6, 1553-1561.