Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 135–143 | Cite as

The Attention Training Technique as an Attempt to Decrease Intrusive Thoughts in Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD): From Cognitive Theory to Practice and Back

  • Steffen MoritzEmail author
  • Nathalie Wess
  • András Treszl
  • Lena Jelinek


The attention training technique (ATT) is a cognitive treatment method that is aimed at ameliorating intrusive thoughts in anxiety disorders. To the best of our knowledge, no randomized controlled study has yet been conducted on individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). For the present study, we recruited 80 participants with OCD over the internet and allocated them to an experimental (ATT implemented as bibliotherapy) or a wait-list condition. Assessments were made at baseline and four weeks later. Groups performed similar at both time points on the self-report version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-revised (OCI-R). The present study speaks against the effectiveness of ATT as a stand-alone bibliotherapeutical approach for OCD. From our data and increasing evidence that OCD patients do not suffer from severe attention or executive deficits we consider an approach targeting attentional biases for certain OCD-related events more useful than a generic (i.e., OCD-unspecific) cognitive remediation approach.


Obsessive–compulsive disorder Attention training Cognition Controlled trial 



We would like to thank Eva Krieger and Ann-Kathrin Ebner for their contribution to the project and Beate Stabel and Katharina Struck for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Moritz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nathalie Wess
    • 1
  • András Treszl
    • 2
  • Lena Jelinek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Biometry and EpidemiologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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