(Freedom from Obsessions and Compulsions Using Skills)


One of the world’s most effective family-based treatment programs for children with OCD

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and not surprisingly is characterised by obsessions and compulsions.  For the majority of children/adolescents with OCD, they experience both obsessions and compulsions. However for some children, they may only experience obsessions or compulsions, without the other.  It is a ‘worry problem’, where your child has persistent worries (obsessions) that often must be alleviated by repetitive actions (compulsions).

For children and their families it can feel like they are the ONLY PEOPLE IN THE WHOLE WORLD that endure this problem. However, OCD really isn’t that strange or uncommon. About three in every one hundred kids is affected by OCD.  This prevalence is greater than diabetes, yet gets much less attention.  Most kids first get OCD between 10 and 15 years old.  However, many of these children never get treatment because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone about their symptoms, in case people think they are crazy.

The GOOD NEWS – your child can learn to fight OCD, so that s/he can start to do more fun things and not be bothered by silly, senseless worries and habits!

The Freedom from Obsessions and Compulsions Using Skills (FOCUS) program, developed at Pathways Health and Research Centre in Brisbane, consists of 16 sessions of cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy (CBT), which has been shown through research to be an effective treatment for OCD in children and adolescents. More than 88% of children with OCD who receive this treatment show significant improvements by having less distress and interference caused by OCD (see Barrett, Healy-Farrell, & March, 2004).

OCD affects not only the child's life but the lives of everyone in the family. Therefore we adopt a ‘team’ approach during the treatment program. FOCUS aims to introduce techniques to beat OCD, which form an imaginary ‘tool kit’ of specific skills for coping with OCD symptoms. Each week your child will have the opportunity to practice these skills with the therapist, and s/he will also be given homework activities to enable her/him to practice what s/he has learnt during our sessions in the home environment. The family and your friends make up the rest of the team, and your encouragement and support is a vital tool for helping your child overcome OCD. Some of the TOOLS include learning ways to repair or reduce uncomfortable feelings of anxiety or worry, other tools will help children think in more positive and powerful ways, and some tools will help them face their fears and fight OCD habits.

Pathways Health and Research Centre also provides professional training workshops for the FOCUS program. This is one of the world’s first complete OCD training packages for children that aims to train mental health professionals on how to conduct the complete 16 session FOCUS program. This workshop has been specifically designed to train psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who wish to extend their skills to include specialised treatment for OCD.

OCD is a problem that can be controlled and managed given the right treatment and supportive family environment

For more information contact Pathways (07) 3391 6866 or visit