The Relationship Between Obsessional Problems and Intrusive Thoughts
Salkovskis PM., Richards HC., Forrester E.
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.