How does response prevention work?


Response prevention is a technique often used in the context of treating conditions like OCD. It involves inhibiting the compulsion or unwanted response in situations that usually trigger it. By intentionally avoiding the response, the individual can establish a new mental framework where the outcome they desire can be achieved without engaging in the compulsive behavior.

For example, if someone has a compulsion to knock on wood to prevent bad outcomes, by consciously refraining from doing so and observing that no bad outcomes occur, the behavior can be extinguished. This method sets up a new context in the brain where the individual recognizes that the extraneous behavior is unnecessary for the desired outcome 1.

Overcoming Superstitions

Andrew and David discuss the power of superstitions and how they can be overcome through response prevention. Andrew shares his personal experience of breaking a superstition by forcing himself to not do it for a week. David explains how response prevention works by setting up a new context in the brain to achieve the desired outcome without the extraneous behavior.

Huberman Lab

Dr. David Spiegel: Using Hypnosis to Enhance Health & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #60