top of page

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


OCD is classed as an anxiety disorder. It is characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive, ritualized behaviour you feel compelled to perform. Despite sufferers often acknowledging that their compulsive thoughts and behaviours are irrational, they are still not able to resist them and remain ‘enslaved’.
While it is not definitively known, scientists believe that the connection issues involving the frontal lobes, striatum, and thalamus of the brain are responsible for OCD symptoms.

Involuntary thoughts or behaviours are a product of this area working either too quickly or too slowly. Treatment is available through medications; however they are not always effective and typically have numerous unwanted side effects.

Research suggests that in OCD, the brain responds too much to errors, and too little to stop signals.

Thus OCD patients may have an “inefficient” linkage between the brain system that links their ability to recognise errors and the system that governs their ability to do something about those errors.

This may lead to an overreaction to errors, which in turn overwhelms their underpowered ability to tell themselves to stop, and hence the compulsions.

With OCD, the logical goal is to adjust the part of the brain that is “stuck,” to end the continuous repetition of thoughts or behaviors. Through neurofeedback, this is actually technologically feasible. 

Neurofeedback locates the areas of the brain causing dysfunction, and retrains them to create healthier brain wave patterns. With sufficient training and practice, the brain actually begins to create these more functional patterns on its own.

The OCD Loop: What May Go Wrong


If you are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, neurotherapy can help to significantly improve your quality of life. The biofeedback process can target those areas of the brain that are stuck like the proverbial needle in a record. With consistent and expert brain training, the OCD symptoms can be reduced without you having to consciously tell yourself to STOP! 

The APS preferred approach to OCD is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a talking therapy that aims to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts that contribute to anxiety, and beliefs around the utility of compulsive behaviours. Antidepressant medications such as selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also be prescribed. These medications have side effects, are not recommended for children or pregnant women, and should not be mixed with alcohol. 

While some people find relief from OCD through these traditional methods, many people do not. Fortunately, Neurofeedback provides a safe, alternative, approach. 

“In cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for OCD, we work to help patients identify, confront and resist their compulsions, to increase communication between the ‘brake’ and the wheels, until the wheels actually stop. But it only works in about half of patients.”

“We know that patients often have insight into their behaviors, and can detect that they’re doing something that doesn’t need to be done,” she adds. “But these results show that the error signal probably isn’t reaching the brain network that needs to be engaged in order for them to stop doing it.”

                                                  - Kate Fitzgerald (U-M psychiatry faculty member)

Neurofeedback trains the areas of the brain associated with control and emotional reactivity, which, for OCD sufferers, remain outside of conscious control. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a neurological issue and not a lack of willpower. It should to be addressed as such.

Neurofeedback gives the brain direct feedback on how well it is working, and through this feedback the brain can regulate itself better, and reduce symptoms of brain deregulation, as in OCD.

Through multiple training sessions the brain learns to work better without the feedback, which can ultimately lead to permanent changes and benefits.

Dr. D. Hammond's 2003 study describes how Neurofeedback was used to reduce OCD Symptoms by 89% as measured by internationally-recognised OCD test the Padua Inventory, and OCD had not returned more than 12 months after Neurofeedback training.

"Neurofeedback appears to have potential as a new treatment modality."

More Recent Research Supports These Findings:

2011 study shared by the U.S. National Library of Science examined “the clinical course of the OCD symptoms,” and evaluated neurofeedback’s effects on those with the disorder. 

The study included 36 drug-resistant participants who had been diagnosed with OCD. Each received nine to 84 neurofeedback sessions.

Out of those 36 participants, 33 experienced improvements in their OCD symptoms, as measured on the Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive scale.

With neurotherapy it is possible you may find yourself no longer hounded by intrusive thoughts or performing uncontrolled behaviours.

Let us help you to calm your mind and embrace your life again.

Contact The Brain Training Centre today.


Hammond, D. C. (2003). QEEG-guided neurofeedback in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy, 7(2), 25-52.


Hammond, D. C. (2004). Treatment of the obsessional subtype of obsessive compulsive disorder with neurofeedback. Biofeedback, 32, 9-12.

Sürmeli T., Ertem A. (2011). Obsessive compulsive disorder and the efficacy of qEEG-guided neurofeedback treatment: a case series. Clin EEG Neurosci. Jul;42(3):195-201.



All articles, documents and publications mentioned by or linked by this site or hosted at this site have been provided by The International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) as a public service. There is absolutely no endorsement by ISNR of any statement made in any of these documents, articles, or publications. Expect to see differences of opinion between authors. That is the essence of free and open scientific study.

bottom of page