The postnatal period has been identified as a time of increased risk for the development of OCD. Obsessions and compulsions at this time frequently focus on accidental or deliberate harm coming to the infant and may impact on the sufferer's capacities as a parent. Given the similarities in presentation between OCD at this and other times, cognitive-behaviour therapy is likely to be effective, but there is little information on whether or how adaptations of CBT can be made to maximise effectiveness and acceptability for mothers. There are no data on the impact of successful treatment on parenting. Six consecutively referred cases of postnatal OCD were treated using cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) intensively delivered over a two week period. All mothers improved on self-report and clinician-rated measures which were sustained at 3-5 month follow-up. Mothers reported significant benefits in terms of their own symptoms and in parenting in general. The intensive mode of delivery appears to be effective and acceptable for this group. Future work should explore whether particular difficulties in terms of parenting are experienced by this group and whether these persist beyond the remission of the maternal disorder.
- anxiety disorders
- postnatal period
- mother-child relations
- childhood development
- obsessive-compulsive disorder