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(p. 95) Overview of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Mental Contamination 

(p. 95) Overview of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Mental Contamination
(p. 95) Overview of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Mental Contamination

Stanley Rachman

, Anna Coughtrey

, Roz Shafran

, and Adam Radomsky

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date: 03 June 2020

Mental contamination is essentially a cognitive disorder and is best treated by the method deduced from the cognitive theory of contamination, namely cognitive behaviour therapy. . The contaminant is a person and hence the treatment focuses on the violation/s and the violator. Attention is paid to the reasons that sustain the fear—specifically, why does the patient feel under current threat? The initial treatment consists of psycho-education and the provision of corrective information. This is followed by detailed analyses of the cause and development of the disorder, the collection of fresh vivid information by the use of behavioral experiments, and the modification of cognitive biases and unadaptive erroneous beliefs about contamination. The behavioral experiments are valuable for ascertaining why the person feels under current threat. Specific techniques designed to deal with the various manifestations of mental contamination, such as self-contamination (e.g., by rescripting of disturbing images) and morphing, are deployed as required. If necessary the cognitive therapy can be modestly supplemented by some exposure therapy. Therapeutic progress is monitored by weekly reports of fear and avoidance, and by self-reports of the personal significance attached to the thoughts and feelings about contamination. Treated cases are described.

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