There are some therapists who use different types of nontraditional treatments to treat OCD. Many of these are labeled “expressive therapies” because they are focused on ways of expressing stress and healing through mediums other than words.
In dance/movement therapy (D/MT), the therapist’s goal is to assist the OCD individuals in developing greater self-awareness through a clear sense of how their mind and body interact.
Therapists can do this by having individuals identify their emotions, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions and then see which reactions are provoked by certain physical situations. D/MT therapists focus on body language to gauge a person’s fears and then try to create a safe physical situation in which that person can heal. The therapist hopes to help people learn to tolerate and “move through” their stress instead of escaping from it. The techniques can include breathing exercises, yoga, relaxation, or even Tai chi. The therapist then helps the patient express and address future needs through movement and words.
Through art therapy, people can draw their problems to help them separate from their anxiety. Through their drawings, they can explore their fears and face them in a safe manner, which teaches them that they can handle their fear. They can also draw themselves interacting with their fears in new ways, as a way to explore how they hope to act when they are able to handle their fears.
Puppet therapy uses puppets as models of people and can help to access the playful side of the patient. Through the use of the puppets, therapists can model new behaviors. Then the patients can try those behaviors with the puppets prior to trying it themselves, so that they have a way of acting on the behaviors before performing them in real life.
Some therapists use techniques from Eastern medicine, such as acupressure on the forehead and the back of the head. It is hoped that through pressure on certain acupuncture points and through the person’s taking deep breaths, the intensity of the thoughts or emotions will decrease and be replaced with calm emotions.
Any of these therapies could be used in conjunction with ERP, CBT, or medication to treat OCD.