An exploration of the relationship of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and traumatic experiences in adult clients

Sasha Pansovoy

iii, 72 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 58-61)


This qualitative research study explored clinicians’ perspectives on the association between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and trauma in the treatment of adult clients. Using both content and narrative analysis, the study examined whether OCD symptoms are reminiscent of the clients’ traumas. Nine clinicians were interviewed and presented narratives of clients who have experienced traumatic events and OCD. Key findings revealed that (1) 10 out of the 12 clients presented were abused as children; (2) OCD symptoms were perceived as coping strategies; (3) the majority of discussed clients were cisgender males; and (4) OCD symptoms of the clients reflected past traumas. Treatment considerations for the simultaneous experience of OCD and trauma were examined. These findings affirm a need for further research regarding the connection between OCD and trauma. Recommendations include the potential development of treatment modalities, which bridge multiple theoretical frameworks in clinical practice that best works for the client.