IERP is looking for coders who want to help create an assistive App for the treatment of OCD.
Exposure Response Prevention is the first line of treatment for patients suffering with OCD. Its effectiveness has been proven and is widely supported by the mental health community. Pure- O is a subset of OCD that is characterized by unwanted intrusive thoughts that result in answer seeking, rumination (mentally trying to solve or discredit a thought) and avoidance of situations that trigger given thoughts. Pure -O sufferers invest much of their energy trying to avoid, answer, or disqualify the legitimacy of intrusive threatening thoughts. Since in vivo ERP exercises for Pure O obsessions are not as easily accomplished as with traditional forms of OCD (touching a “contaminated” surface without washing ones hands) Imaginal exposure techniques can help patients confront fears that may otherwise be difficult to trigger. It should be noted that it is not uncommon for more traditional forms of OCD (checking, hand washing, etc.) to be accompanied by Pure-O obsessions.
IERP is different from other Apps for assisting with OCD therapy in that it is designed specifically for conducting imaginal exposures. Based on the Index Card technique developed by Dr. Steven Phiiliipson, this app supplies users with a series of writing prompts about their intrusive thoughts. The app then presents the user with their feared stimulus at various times throughout the day. The focus of the therapy is simple, to let the thoughts be there, accepting the accompanying anxiety without engaging in any form of answer seeking (i.e ruminating, searching the internet, or asking a friend for reassurance). Our App is simple in design to reflect the simplicity of the directive; trigger the fear, feel the emotions it provokes, avoid seeking reasurance. Since the task of provoking intense feelings of anxiety is uncomfortable, it is natural that the brain will look for means to complicate the treatment path and avoid these emotions. Similar to recovery from addiction, the urge to seek answers is powerful and patients often don’t recognize their own strength in resisting it. This must be met with absolute clarity about what it is the patient is choosing in their response. In this way it is critical that IERP be as simple, direct and clear as possible allowing seamless integration with ones everyday routines to overcome barriers to recovery. We recommend that it be used in conjunction with visiting an ERP trained therapist and/or as maintenance therapy once concepts of ERP are thoroughly understood.