Dynamic Psychotherapy

Dynamic Psychotherapy is a Melbourne Psychology Practice with an ISTDP focus

Therapy for OCD

OCD Treatment with Melbourne-based Psychologists

This page covers what OCD is, causes and treatments for OCD and how we can help.

If you or someone you know experiences OCD interfering with everyday life, it is probably time to seek professional help.

Our private psychology clinic, located in Carlton, Melbourne offers in-person and online appointments. Why choose us?

OCD Uncertainty
  • Experienced Psychologists: Our team includes highly trained psychologists who specialise in OCD. Leveraging years of clinical success, we offer evidence-based treatments tailored to combat the complexities of OCD.
  • Personalised Treatment: We believe in a custom approach because effective therapy is unique to everyone. By tailoring treatment plans to your specific symptoms and life circumstances, we ensure a path to recovery that resonates deeply with your personal situation.
  • Comprehensive Support: More than just managing symptoms, we focus on developing lasting coping strategies and building resilience. At Dynamic Psychotherapy, we equip you with the tools needed for a fulfilling life, free from the constraints of OCD.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

OCD is a mental health condition characterised by a cycle of unwanted obsessions and compulsions. People who experience OCD can often report their anxiety is overwhelming and impossible to resolve.

The treatments available for OCD have continued to improve and people seeking help have an excellent range of different therapies that are all informed from years of focused research and clinical experience.  There is so much understood about how the OCD condition disrupts daily activities, diminishes quality of life, and how people can take steps to break free of it’s cycle and win the inner-battle with OCD.1

Common Symptoms of OCD

Obsessions: Persistent, unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that cause distress or anxiety.

  • Fear of contamination or germs
  • Fears of forgetting something or causing damage
  • Fear of harming oneself or others
  • Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts
  • Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
  • Fear of losing or not having things you might need

Compulsions: Repetitive behaviours that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting
  • Repeating specific words, phrases, or prayers

Therapeutic Approaches to Treat OCD

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): A type of psychotherapy that helps patients change negative patterns of thinking, behaviour, and emotional response associated with OCD.
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): A subtype of CBT specifically effective for OCD, which involves gradually approaching an object or scenario that the person has been avoiding due to fears and learning tools to manage the discomfort  that stirs up, whilst refraining from the compulsive behaviour associated with it.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Encourages patients to accept their thoughts without trying to alter them, focusing instead on changing their behaviour.
  • Family Therapy: Helps family members understand the disorder and develop better strategies for supporting their loved one.

When to seek help for OCD

It is recommended to explore treatments when your anxiety impacts your life in significant and meaningful ways. This might be that your anxiety stops you from leaving your home comfortably resulting in you often being late or completely missing fun events. Or your anxiety prevents you from finishing work on time and you have problems with your employment or study. Through conversations with a therapist, it might become apparent that you are in an OCD cycle and could benefit from anxiety treatments.

Something to remember when considering OCD is that all people experience obsessive thinking at times.  Obsessing about things can be a normal part of our lives especially when we have stressful or important decisions to make. These obsessions become a problem and can be improved with treatment when they are persistent, repetitive, hard to ignore, and distressing.

If OCD symptoms persistently interfere with one’s ability to function effectively in personal, social, or professional environments, it is advisable to consult with a general practitioner or a mental health professional with experience in treating OCD.

These specialists can provide a formal assessment and recommend appropriate treatment options, including therapy or medication, tailored to improve quality of life and manage the disorder more effectively.2

Book Now or Request Further Information

Submit an intake form below or continue reading for a detailed overview of OCD Treatment.

Meet Our Melbourne Team of Therapists Treating OCD at Dynamic Psychotherapy

Meet our therapists who are experienced in treating OCD at Dynamic Psychotherapy with a combination of expertise and compassion.

Our team is not only trained in advanced therapeutic techniques but also brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. Learn about our dedicated professionals who are prepared to guide you on your journey to mental health.

Click on a OCD therapist to view more

Senior Counsellor Jamie Lopes, working with OCD in Melbourne

Jamie Lopes

Senior Counsellor

Jamie Lopes is experienced in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Holding an undergraduate degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from ISPA University, Portugal, Jamie is currently advancing their expertise through a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Additionally, Jamie has trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and is advancing their skills in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP).

Jamie’s therapeutic work with OCD is tailored to support individuals grappling with intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, leveraging their extensive training to facilitate recovery and resilience in clients dealing with OCD.

Clinical Psychologist Richard Stratton. Richard has extensive experience working with OCD

Richard Stratton

Clinical Psychologist

Richard is a Clinical Psychologist with expertise in ISTDP and CBT, focusing on treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He adopts a collaborative approach, empowering clients to confront and manage OCD symptoms to achieve personal growth and resilience.

With over ten years of experience in community health, Richard is skilled in supporting individuals facing anxiety and compulsive behaviours. His work extends to various community programs across Australia, including interventions for children in hospitals and support for elderly individuals with dementia through service dog programs.

In his therapy sessions, Richard uses his extensive background to help individuals with OCD make meaningful changes, regain control, and lead fulfilling lives.

OCD Psychologist Michelle Mennie, Working from Carlton, Melbourne

Michelle Mennie


Michelle is a registered psychologist with experience in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) among other conditions. She employs evidence-based methods including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), and Motivational Interviewing.

Her practice supports individuals across all ages who face OCD, utilising her extensive experience in managing anxiety-related disorders. Michelle’s expertise extends to addressing the psychological impacts of trauma and chronic stress, which are often components of OCD symptoms. She practices in trauma-informed and LGBTQIA+ safe environments, ensuring a supportive space for all clients.

A Detailed Overview of OCD

OCD is a common and treatable anxiety disorder characterised by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions) that the person feels driven to perform. These symptoms can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.

Understanding Obsessions and Compulsions

Obsessions are intrusive and persistent thoughts, images, or urges that cause significant anxiety or distress. Despite efforts to ignore or suppress these thoughts, they continue to plague the person’s mind. Common obsessions include:

  • Fear of contamination or germs.
  • Doubts about safety, such as concerns over having left the door unlocked or the stove on.
  • Unwanted thoughts involving sex, religion, or harm.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that a person feels compelled to perform in response to an obsession or according to rigid rules.

The behaviours are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety related to obsessions or preventing some dreaded event; however, they are not connected in a realistic way with the feared event or are clearly excessive. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive hand washing, cleaning, and ordering.
  • Checking things repeatedly.
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.

What Causes OCD?

OCD is a condition that arises from anxiety and there are many reasons why a person might experience an episode at some point in their life. As with many mental health conditions, research suggests a combination of genetic, neurological, behavioural, cognitive, and environmental factors may contribute to its development.

Below, we explore these factors based on insights from comprehensive studies and expert analyses.

Environmental Factors

  • Stressful Life Events: Significant life stressors, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss, can trigger the onset of OCD symptoms or exacerbate existing symptoms. Stress is believed to act as a catalyst that reveals an underlying predisposition to OCD.
  • Behavioural Conditioning: Some theories suggest that OCD symptoms may develop through behavioural conditioning. For example, if a person engages in a particular behaviour that temporarily reduces anxiety, they may begin to perform that behaviour compulsively as a coping mechanism.

Cognitive Aspects

  • Maladaptive Beliefs: Cognitive theories of OCD emphasise that individuals with OCD often hold rigid, perfectionistic beliefs and exhibit a heightened sense of responsibility, leading to the development of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Misinterpretations of intrusive thoughts and an exaggerated sense of threat are also central to cognitive models of OCD.

Learning and Developmental Factors

  • Early Experiences: Childhood experiences, including trauma or illness, may contribute to the onset of OCD. Patterns of behaviour and thought learned in early life can set the groundwork for OCD symptoms later.

Genetic Factors

  • Genetic Predisposition: Evidence suggests that OCD may run in families, indicating a potential genetic component. Studies have found that individuals with first-degree relatives who have OCD are at a higher risk of developing the condition themselves. This genetic link, however, is complex and likely involves multiple genes rather than a single gene causing the disorder.

Neurobiological Factors

  • Brain Structure and Function: Neuroimaging studies have shown that people with OCD often have differences in certain areas of the brain, including the orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and striatum. These areas play key roles in planning complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour.
  • Neurotransmitters: OCD is associated with an imbalance in the brain’s serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, anxiety, and happiness. Other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and glutamate, have also been implicated in the pathophysiology of OCD.3

Therapeutic Treatments for OCD

Effective treatment for OCD involves a combination of psychological therapies and medication. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and the individual’s response to initial treatment efforts.

Below, we outline the most commonly used therapeutic treatments for OCD, as supported by clinical research and expert consensus.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): ERP is a specialised form of CBT and is considered the gold standard for treating OCD. It involves exposing the patient to situations that trigger their OCD compulsions and teaching them to refrain from performing the compulsive behaviour. Over time, ERP can help reduce the person’s sensitivity to these triggers and decrease the intensity of OCD symptoms.
  • Cognitive Therapy: This approach focuses on changing the distorted beliefs and excessive sense of responsibility often associated with OCD. By challenging and reframing these thoughts, patients can learn to manage their obsessions and compulsions more effectively.

Combination Therapy

  • Integrated Approach: Many experts recommend a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy to achieve the best outcomes. This approach addresses both the biochemical and psychological foundations of OCD, providing a comprehensive treatment plan.

Other Therapies

  • Mindfulness and Other Behavioural Therapies: Techniques such as mindfulness, which teaches patients to focus on the present moment and accept thoughts without judgment, can also be beneficial. These therapies are often used as adjunctive treatments alongside CBT and medication.
  • Group Therapy and Support Groups: Participating in group therapy or support groups can provide patients with social support and reinforce coping strategies learned in individual therapy.

Advanced Treatments

  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): For severe cases of OCD that do not respond to traditional treatments, neurosurgical options such as DBS or less invasive options like TMS may be considered. These treatments involve stimulating specific parts of the brain to reduce OCD symptoms.

Therapeutic Strategies for Children and Adolescents

  • Family Therapy: Involving the family in treatment is particularly important for young people with OCD. Family therapy can help family members understand the disorder and learn how to support their loved one without reinforcing OCD behaviours.4

Why Choose Therapy for OCD

Selecting the right therapy for OCD is crucial to effectively managing and overcoming the disorder. At Dynamic Psychotherapy, we emphasise evidence-based methods that address both your symptoms and the development of long-term management skills:

  • Expert Guidance: Our specialists possess a profound understanding of OCD, providing insights and strategies that extend beyond basic coping mechanisms.
  • Structured Approach: We employ scientifically validated therapeutic techniques proven to significantly reduce OCD symptoms.

Proven Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

  • Targeted Therapy: CBT addresses the specific thoughts and behaviours characteristic of OCD, aiding you in challenging and modifying them.
  • Long-Term Benefits: Learn strategies to control compulsive behaviours and alleviate anxiety, equipping you with tools for sustained mental health.

Tailored Treatment

  • Individual Focus: Each treatment plan is customised to meet your unique needs, ensuring more effective and relevant therapy.
  • Adaptive Strategies: As your requirements evolve, so does our approach, ensuring continual progress.

Treatment Options for OCD at Dynamic Psychotherapy

Dynamic Psychotherapy offers a variety of effective treatment options tailored to your specific symptoms of OCD, preparing you for a confident start on your recovery journey:

Comprehensive Treatment Modalities

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Targets the thought processes and behaviours linked to OCD, providing strategies to challenge and change them.
  • Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): A specialised form of CBT, ERP involves controlled exposure to fear sources or obsessions, teaching you to refrain from compulsive responses.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): Integrates mindfulness practices to assist in managing anxiety and obsessive thoughts.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Promotes acceptance of unwanted thoughts and feelings, combined with commitment to personal values.

Personalised Treatment Plans

  • Initial Assessment: Your treatment journey begins with a comprehensive evaluation to understand the depth and nature of your OCD.
  • Customised Strategy: Based on the initial assessment, we craft a personalised treatment plan to tackle your unique challenges.
  • Ongoing Adaptation: Your treatment plan will adapt to reflect your progress and any new challenges that arise.

Explaining Exposure Exercises

An important part of therapy for OCD is education and dispelling any misconceptions over what is expected in therapy to successfully resolve the anxiety. A barrier for some people to seek help with their OCD is the fear and misunderstanding of what will be expected of them in therapy.

A common fear is that their therapist will force them to do the things they are terrified of in “exposure exercises”. This should never happen in good therapy.

Effective OCD Treatment Strategies and Positive Outcomes

OCD treatment has been well researched and many people have life changing positive outcomes. Exposure exercises are one tool amongst many that can be used in effective therapy.

In safe therapy a person will never be asked to do something they do not understand or want to. The goal of good OCD treatment is to plan out a therapy journey which resolves the excessive anxiety, distress, and interference from a person suffering from OCD.

Early stages of therapy focus on gathering information, mapping out the person’s OCD and then discussing the interferences in the person’s life.

Implementing Exposure Exercises in Advanced Stages of OCD Therapy

In later stages of therapy, the person may begin to want to approach and enjoy the parts of their life that they have been avoiding. This is when the tool of exposure exercises can be helpful to the person motivated to start approaching objects or scenarios they have associated with a lot of fears.

Exposure exercises mean breaking down into achievable steps, any activity that we have been avoiding but have decided that we want to start doing again. A main principle of exposure exercises is the person with OCD taking the lead in planning small achievable steps towards the meaningful things in their life.

The Importance of Planned Exposure in OCD Therapy

Misunderstandings of exposure exercises see some people thrust into these activities without a plan. When this occurs, it can flood the nervous system with anxiety and overwhelm the person like being thrown in the deep end of the pool.

The brain struggles to learn and incorporate new information when it is highly stressed or threatened so a flooding exposure like this become more about how much you can tolerate until the end but fails to provide much new learning or confidence.

Planned exposure relies on establishing a trusting and safe experience where there are no surprises, and the person feels in control and reasonably calm.5

What to Expect from Therapy for OCD

Starting therapy signifies a significant step toward managing your OCD with assurance. Here’s what you can anticipate during your therapy sessions:

Overview of the Therapy Process

  • Initial Consultation: Understand your history, symptoms, and any past treatments.
  • Setting Goals: We’ll set realistic, achievable goals to enhance your daily function and quality of life.
  • Regular Sessions: Depending on your plan, sessions may be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly, focusing on specific therapeutic targets.

Measuring Progress

  • Continuous Assessment: We regularly monitor progress to ensure therapy effectiveness and meet your evolving needs.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Open communication and feedback are encouraged in every session, allowing for necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

OCD Therapy Online via Video Call

Understanding the importance of accessibility in managing and treating OCD, Dynamic Psychotherapy offers comprehensive online therapy sessions through Telehealth, ensuring quality mental health services are accessible from anywhere.

Benefits of Online Therapy

  • Accessibility: Access our expert therapists from the comfort of your home, eliminating travel time and making therapy accessible even in remote areas.
  • Flexibility: Schedule sessions that fit your lifestyle, enhancing consistency in treatment.
  • Privacy: Conduct therapy in a private and secure environment of your choice, ensuring confidentiality.

How Online Therapy Works

  • Easy Setup: All you need is a stable internet connection and a device. We guide you through a straightforward setup process for virtual visits.
  • Secure Platforms: Our Telehealth services are conducted over secure, encrypted platforms, ensuring your privacy and data protection.
  • Consistent Care: Receive the same high level of professional care as in-person sessions. Our therapists are adept at delivering high-quality online therapy.

What to Expect in Your Online Session

  • Initial Assessment: Similar to in-person visits, your first online session involves a tailored assessment.
  • Interactive Sessions: Engage in real-time, face-to-face video sessions using tools and techniques suited for online therapy.
  • Ongoing Support: Access additional online resources and support between sessions to maximise your therapy benefits.

Preparing for Your First Appointment

Taking the step to start therapy is a courageous decision towards managing OCD. At Dynamic Psychotherapy, we ensure you are fully prepared and comfortable for your initial visit.

Steps to Prepare for Your First Appointment

  • Complete Intake Forms: Gather any relevant health records, therapy notes, or medications related to your mental health.
  • Reflect on Your Goals: Consider what you hope to achieve through therapy, which can guide the session effectively.
  • Prepare Mentally: Approach your first session with an open mind, ready to explore your thoughts and behaviours without judgment.

What to Bring to Your Session

  • List of Symptoms: Document specific thoughts, behaviours, or situations that trigger your OCD symptoms.
  • Questions for the Therapist: Prepare any questions or concerns about the therapy process, treatments, or other issues.
  • A Support Person: Consider bringing a friend or family member for support during your first visit.

During Your First Visit

  • Discussion of History: Your therapist will review your mental health history and any prior treatments.
  • Assessment of Needs: You’ll undergo a detailed assessment to pinpoint the specific characteristics of your OCD.
  • Collaborative Treatment Planning: Together with your therapist, you’ll begin developing a personalised treatment plan.

Tips for a Successful First Visit

  • Be Honest: Openly share your thoughts and feelings to help your therapist fully understand your situation.
  • Ask Questions: Feel free to ask for clarification or further information about the therapy process.
  • Stay Engaged: Active participation can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your therapy.

At Dynamic Psychotherapy, we’re here to support you from the very first step. By preparing effectively for your first visit, you set the stage for a successful therapy experience tailored to your personal needs and goals.

FAQs About OCD Treatment

What are the common OCD therapy techniques?

How does OCD affect daily life?

Can OCD be self-treated?

Does OCD go away?

Who is the best OCD psychologist in Melbourne?

What is the best therapy for OCD?

Helpful Free Resources about OCD

International OCD Foundation

  • Offers a variety of free resources including provider directories, support groups, and educational tools for those affected by OCD.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

  • Provides helpful resources for professionals treating OCD, featuring clinical tools and treatment guides.


  • A helpful resource offering self-help tips, expert advice, and community support for managing OCD.

SANE Australia

  • Features free guides and information to help understand and manage OCD.


  • Provides free self-help materials and community forums for individuals looking to manage their OCD.

Each of these websites provides distinct tools and information to better understand OCD.


We Are Not Responsible for websites we link to. Please be aware that we have no control over the content of these websites or resources. The content may change, and we are not responsible for any alterations, or the reliability of the information provided.

Have any questions, or ready to book an Appointment?

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  1. Stein, D.J., Costa, D.L.C., Lochner, C. et al. Obsessive–compulsive disorder. Nat Rev Dis Primers 5, 52 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-019-0102-3 ↩︎
  2. Belloch, A., del Valle, G., Morillo, C. et al. To seek advice or not to seek advice about the problem: the help-seeking dilemma for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 44, 257–264 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-008-0423-0 ↩︎
  3. Veale D, Roberts A. Obsessive-compulsive disorder BMJ 2014; 348 :g2183 doi:10.1136/bmj.g2183 ↩︎
  4. Abramowitz JS. The Psychological Treatment of Obsessive—Compulsive Disorder. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2006;51(7):407-416. doi:10.1177/070674370605100702 ↩︎
  5. Abramowitz, J. S., Foa, E. B., & Franklin, M. E. (2003). Exposure and ritual prevention for obsessive-compulsive disorder: Effects of intensive versus twice-weekly sessions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 394–398. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.394 ↩︎

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