Steven Phillipson

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Steven Phillipson, Ph.D., is one of the leading U.S. cognitive-behavioral psychologists in the field of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a specialist in the emerging field of Pure Obsessional ("Pure O") OCD. Pure O differs from traditional OCD in that it manifests solely in the mind, rather than through the compulsive rituals (hand-washing, checking, etc.) associated with the more well-known form of the disorder. Because of this, Pure O is particularly difficult to treat. It involves often debilitating anxious rumination: repetitive thoughts geared toward problem-solving, question-answering and relief-seeking.

Dr. Phillipson, based in Manhattan, New York, claims an unusually high success rate in a therapeutic field long regarded as notoriously difficult, citing a typical remission rate of 80 to 100 percent among patients. Dr. Phillipson's OCD treatment focuses on the psychological principles of extinction and habituation, emphasizing the role of the brain's amygdala in the experience of anxiety. Phillipson encourages clients to contrast experience and perception in grappling with OCD, which he classifies as a habituated psychological condition rather than a disease or illness.

The foundation of Dr. Phillipson's approach -- one increasingly embraced by anxiety specialists -- is that OCD symptoms are reinforced through patterns of learned behavior that directly encourage fight-or-flight responses from the brain's amygdala (primitive emotional center). These patterns of behavior can be altered (unlearned) through exposure and response treatments. Clients are taught to systematically induce anxiety-provoking situations while deliberately choosing to tolerate the resultant anxiety, ambiguity and uncertainty.

Dr. Phillipson has written numerous articles on OCD. Many can be found on his Web site (http://www.ocdonline.com/articlesphillipson.php).

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