Intensive Program for OCD

The Intensive Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at Bradley Hospital provides treatment to children and adolescents, ages 5 to 18, who experience significant impairment in their daily lives due to OCD and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Among the conditions we treat are:

  • OCD
  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
  • Hypochondria/health anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety/social phobia
  • Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder)
  • Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

OCD Resources

Treatment Approach

The goal of the Intensive Program for OCD treatment is to alleviate OCD symptoms while improving daily functioning and promoting further involvement in school, social, and family activities. The Intensive Program for OCD provides a full spectrum of services, including individual therapy and family, group, and milieu therapy. Our clinicians tailor an age-appropriate treatment plan for each child. Parents and family members contribute to the plan, starting with the child’s evaluation and continuing throughout treatment. Ours is the only program on the East Coast to use a milieu-based intensive treatment model with this age group.

At the forefront of OCD treatment and research, our clinical team uses a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention (ERP). The treatment of choice for individuals with OCD, exposure and response prevention strengthens a child’s ability to manage anxiety by gradually facing fears and reducing the repetitive rituals of OCD.

Treatment takes place Monday through Friday at Bradley Hospital. Program hours depend on a child’s level of care. We offer a full-day partial program with home-based ERP sessions every day and a half-day program with home-based ERP two days per week. The average length of treatment is approximately eight weeks.

The Intensive Program for OCD can be an effective care option for youth who have not responded to traditional outpatient treatment or who lack specialized OCD services where they live.

OCD's Impact on Children and Their Families

  • School avoidance or difficulty attending school
  • Withdrawal from family, friends
  • Loss of interest in sports, other activities
  • Problems eating, sleeping and bathing
Treatment Components
Individual therapy

Individual therapy is provided twice a week to develop and refine the child’s therapeutic plan, as well as to practice exposure and response prevention exercises.

Psychiatric care

The program’s psychiatrist meets weekly with each patient. If a child is already seeing a psychiatrist, the program psychiatrist will work in consultation with him or her. If a patient needs medication, the psychiatrist will work with parents to develop a medication plan.

Family therapy

OCD affects the whole family. With family support, children are much more likely to have positive outcomes, so families are asked to commit to family therapy once a week. These meetings will focus on enhancing the relationship between parents and their children as well as other members of the family.

Milieu therapy

Twice each program day, milieu staff run exposure groups, assisting patients in completing individualized exposure exercises devised by their doctors. A certified art therapist leads art therapy groups twice a week. In addition, all children participate in group activities designed to enhance their understanding of, and motivation to, engage in exposure therapy. The specific content of these groups changes over time and is tailored to the needs of the patients. Examples of group activities include process groups, team building, and mindfulness.

“Home” visits

Milieu staff run individualized exposure tasks in the community and child’s home, which helps reinforce the program’s therapeutic benefits in real-world settings. Visits are made five days per week in the full-day partial program and two days per week in the half-day partial program. We ask that at least one parent is available to participate in these visits so they can learn how to assist their child with the exposures.


We pride ourselves on delivering cutting-edge, research-informed treatment. This is an ongoing process and requires careful assessment of treatment delivery and outcome. During your child’s first week in the program, a research assistant will ask if you are willing to participate in research. If you agree, some of the forms you and your child complete during clinical care will be used for research purposes. Participation in research is optional and will not affect the care your child receives in the program.

For more information about the Intensive Program for OCD, please call 401-432-1516 or use our contact form.

Intensive Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder News