2022 Virtual OCD-UK Conference - Welcome to Hotel OCD-UK, flying the flag for recovery!

Professor Paul Salkovskis

Professor Paul Salkovskis

CBT is not a dangerous pursuit: Understanding that “Better Safe than Sorry” is a trap set by OCD.

 Broadcast live on Friday 18th November 2022

Professor Paul Salkovskis, University of Oxford
Research Link: https://oxicptr.web.ox.ac.uk/help-our-research

Presentation subject

When people seek help for OCD through CBT, they of course need to consider the balance of risks against benefits. Participating in CBT can seem particularly risky when it seems like OCD is the only way of keeping yourself and others safe from the worst possible dangers.

With OCD, recognising and understanding the real risks is a huge problem, because OCD makes you anxious. Anxiety always increases your sense of threat, which then increases your anxiety. That is where Obsessional problems come from. Because OCD makes you overestimate danger, that naturally and understandably leads to two things.

  • You will overestimate the risks of what you have to do in CBT, making it super hard to confront your fears.
  • Your instincts will tell you to make yourself safe at all costs by activating compulsions as safety seeking behaviour, making it even harder to confront your fears in Exposure and Response Prevention

In this presentation, Paul will discuss the importance of re-balancing ideas of risk, and the importance of discovering and understanding the all too real hidden risks and harms which OCD inevitably brings. In terms of risk, CBT is a solution for the very real and risky problem that is OCD.

About the speaker

Professor Paul Salkovskis is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science and also a patron of the national charity, OCD-UK.

Paul Salkovskis qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1979 at the Institute of Psychiatry. He worked for six years in Yorkshire (in Huddersfield then Leeds) as a full time NHS clinical psychologist before moving to Oxford as a Research Clinical Psychologist. In Oxford he was promoted to Professor before moving to work at King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry as Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science and Clinical Director in the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma in SLaM NHS Trust.

In 2010 he was appointed Programme Director for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme at the University of Bath where Paul set up and ran a specialist OCD treatment Clinic.

He is regarded as an expert in the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders in general, and more specifically in OCD, Panic and Agoraphobia and health anxiety, having contributed to the psychological understanding and treatment of these areas.

Paul is also currently Editor of the BABCP Journal, Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, and is President of the BABCP.

In 2018 he moved to the University of Oxford to take up the roles of Director of Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training and the Director of Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre, where he will continue clinical work at the Oxford Health Specialist Psychological Intervention Centre (OHSPIC).

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