Finding an Intensive or Residential Program for OCD Treatment

The International OCD Foundation’s Directory of Clinics and Programs can be found at this link: You can search by location, type of program, age population served, specialties (e.g., scrupulosity, BDD, BFRBs), treatment strategies used, and payment types. Below is how the IOCDF classifies the various types of higher-level care for OCD.

Levels of Care:

  • Specialty Outpatient: These are clinics where several outpatient therapists work together in a treatment center that primarily focuses on treating OCD and related disorders, and as a result may have more experience and training in the OCD and related disorders field. They typically offer traditional outpatient therapy (usually 45–60-minute sessions, 1–2 times per week), but may also offer additional programs, such as support groups and group therapy.
  • Intensive Treatment: For individuals with severe OCD or who have not responded to traditional outpatient treatment, intensive treatment (up to 90 minutes per session, and meeting more frequently than 1–2 times per week) may be helpful. When intensive treatment is offered as part of a structured program, several days a week, for a specific period of time (4–6 weeks, for example). This is called an Intensive Outpatient Program, or IOP. IOPs may also have additional services associated with them, including group therapy, family therapy, and/or support groups.
  • Residential: Individuals who do not have access to an intensive outpatient treatment program in their area may choose to travel to a residential program. Residential programs may also be helpful for individuals who have not responded to traditional or intensive outpatient treatment. At these programs, clients live at the treatment center with care available around the clock. Residential programs are very structured, offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (including a heavy emphasis on Exposure and Response Prevention) in group and individual treatment formats, medication treatment, and family therapy, which all form the core components of the program’s treatment services. Unlike “inpatient” programs, patients are able to leave the facility or hospital grounds for additional therapy opportunities or for recreation. As a result, residential programs are sometimes referred to as “unlocked” units.