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According to the cognitive theory, obsessional problems occur when the occurrence and/or content of intrusive thoughts are interpreted as a sign of increased personal responsibility for some harmful outcome to oneself or others. The link between normal intrusive thoughts and obsessional thoughts is outlined. Current definitions of “neutralizing” and “responsibility” within the cognitive framework are examined and clarified. Responsibility-driven attempts to control cognitive activity explain obsessional and compulsive phenomena better than generalized deficit models. Recent descriptions of “meta-cognitive” factors in obsessions echo the existing cognitive model and have similar implications. An extension of the cognitive-behavioural model suggests a link between thought suppression and the perception of responsibility and to concerns about failure to act (omissions). © 1995, British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. All rights reserved.

Original publication

DOI

10.1017/S1352465800015885

Type

Journal article

Journal

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Publication Date

01/01/1995

Volume

23

Pages

281 - 299