Strengths of the UCLA OCD Intensive Treatment Program

The UCLA Adult OCD Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) was the first of its kind in California and one of the first in the country. It has been providing the highest quality of care to the OCD community since 1990 and has been a model for other treatment programs around the world.

There are many reasons to consider our exceptional program:

  • Treatment by a multidisciplinary team of experts. The UCLA OCD IOP is a highly individualized treatment program with four licensed experienced therapists from diverse disciplines (social work, family therapy, psychology), all with extensive experience in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with an emphasis on Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Patient and therapist work together to design a treatment plan, and our multidisciplinary treatment team meets weekly to review all cases and provide treatment input. Our team also includes two board-certified OCD-specialist psychiatrists, who optimize patients' medications and meet with patients weekly. Our psychiatrists are full-time faculty members at UCLA who also teach and conduct OCD research, which puts them at the cutting-edge of patient care, new treatment development, and understanding brain-behavior relationships in OCD.

  • Intensive, Individualized treatment. The core treatment for our program is cognitive -behavioral therapy, specifically, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is a well-established first-line treatment for OCD whose efficacy is supported by multiple randomized clinical trials over several decades. Our program is 6 weeks long (30 treatment days), 5 days per week, and 4 hours per day. ERP comprises about 75% of program time. Our individualized treatment program provides one hour of one-on-one daily individual therapy with a licensed clinician, 2 hours of ERP with a behavioral coach, one hour of daily group therapy, and one weekly appointment with a psychiatrist. We also have a family support group every other week and a weekly alumni group for patients who recently finished the program.

  • Outstanding Treatment Outcomes. Our data shows a high degree of symptom improvement, despite high average symptom severity at admission and having not responded adequately to prior outpatient CBT and medication treatments:

    • 42% average reduction in OCD symptoms assessed with the YBOCS-II in the past 151 patients who completed treatment in our program.
      • At admission, average YBOCS-II score was 37.7 (SD=5.86) and at termination it was 21.70 (SD=6.51).
      • The YBOCS-II measures symptom severity from 0 to 50 and is an advance over the traditional YBOCS in that it also measures avoidance behaviors.
    • 40% average reduction in depressive symptoms assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) in 124 patients.
      • At admission, average score was 20.08 (SD=11.20) and 11.54 (SD=9.49) at discharge.
    • 31% average general improvement in functioning, measured by the Global Assessment of functioning (GAF) in 124 patients.
      • Their baseline score was 47.38 (SD=5.41), and at discharge it was 61.67 (SD=9.19) (higher scores indicate better functioning).

  • Treatment in Spanish / Tratamiento en Español. Our team includes a bilingual therapist and behavioral coaches that are able to provide treatment to Spanish speaking patients. Nuestro equipo incluye un terapista y entrenadores conductuales bilingües que pueden hacer tratamiento en español.

  • Focus on improving functioning. Our treatment goals go beyond symptom reduction and focus on improving patients’ general level of functioning by returning to work, school or having a volunteer position by the time of discharge. We focus on patient’s strengths to help them live a valued life.

  • A small and cohesive therapeutic environment. Each therapist works with no more than two patients at a time, and there are no more than eight patients in the program at any given point. This allows for an intimate and supportive environment where patients develop into a cohesive group, and frequently form close relationships.

  • Involvement of significant others. Family members, loved ones, and other members of the patient’s treatment team are included in the treatment plan, with patients’ permission. Family members and loved ones often welcome support and education, and may need guidance on how to reduce accommodations that enable the patient’s symptoms. Families also often benefit from discussing prognosis and expectations for treatment, as well as planning follow up care. We offer a support group for significant others while patients are in our program.

  • Treatment of co-occurring disorders. The program is devoted to treating individuals with OCD, but also addresses other co-occurring, or “comorbid” disorders (e.g. social anxiety, panic, depression, or other obsessive-compulsive related disorders). Additionally, the program offers a highly specific treatment program for individuals with Hoarding disorder.

  • Integrated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment for comorbid depression. In conjunction with the UCLA TMS Clinical and Research Program, we offer integrated treatment of comorbid treatment-resistant depression. Treatment can be done prior to the 6 weeks in the OCD program or during the 6 weeks of the program.

  • Diversity. Our program welcomes all individuals, without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, or disabilities. Additionally, our staff is also able to provide services in Spanish, German and Portuguese. The patients in our program reflect the diversity of the Los Angeles community.

  • Insurance Coverage. We accept many forms of insurance including Medicare. Most of our patients are able to use their insurance for treatment in our program.


“I was impressed with the staff as a whole and how involved all the therapists were in my treatment even if I wasn’t working directly with them. They all had an awareness of my OCD symptoms which made groups more applicable to my case, and I felt very well taken care of.”

“Honestly, this program is so helpful that it was life changing. It completed changed my life and I am so thankful for all these things.”

“I am forever grateful for all the help, guidance, expertise and exposure that I received from you!”

“The staff was absolutely amazing and helpful at all times”