Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects approximately 3% of children and adolescents.

Children with OCD may experience obsessions (uncontrollable, intrusive and scary thoughts) and/or compulsions (repetitive behaviours that they feel driven to do to in order to reduce anxiety or prevent something terrible from happening).

Children with OCD are usually aware that these thoughts and behaviours are not "normal" and often find them very distressing. In childhood, OCD can affect the entire family, such that family members often have to assist with completing rituals, or modify family routines to alleviate the child's distress.

About the program

Griffith University Paediatric OCD Research Program is led by Associate Professor Lara Farrell, and provides assessment and state-of-the-art evidence-based, cognitive-behavioural treatment (group and individual format) for children and youth with OCD spectrum disorders.

Associate Professor Farrell and her colleagues have recently been awarded grants from the Children’s Financial Market and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct research examining the effectiveness of intensive treatments for children and youth with OCD .

2013-2015. Lara Farrell, Allison Waters, Harry McConnell. Novel treatment of paediatric OCD : improving access and outcomes. The Financial Markets, Foundation for Children. 2 years

2014-2016. Lara Farrell. Allison Waters, Eric Storch, Brett McDermott, Harry McConnell, Jennie Hudson, Dan Geller, Thomas Ollendick, Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck, Evelin Tiralongo. Improving outcomes of evidence-based behaviour therapy for paediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: a translational efficacy trial of d-cycloserine augmented intensive behaviour therapy. NHMRC. 3 years

Dr Farrell currently has a number of postgraduate students conducting research under her supervision to help better understand OCD spectrum disorder in children and youth.

Mr Matthew McKenzie

Matthew is a PhD student working with the OCD Busters Program. He has travelled all the way from Jamaica to lend his services to the OCD Busters Intensive Treatment Program (Gold Coast) and research emotion regulation in children and youth with OCD.

Ms Sharna Mathieu

Sharna is a PhD student working with the OCD Busters Program. She has been involved in the program for a number of years. Her research involves family dynamics and the development of maladaptive beliefs in families of children and youth with OCD.

Griffith University OCD Research Program in the Media

Gold Coast Bulletin

KIDS whose crippling fears have them avoiding food, dogs, showers — or even certain chairs in their home — are being targeted in a world-first study on the Gold Coast.

A team of Griffith University researchers, dubbed the “OCD busters”, have teamed with Macquarie University in Sydney to recruit more than 100 children to a trial that will see them take a low dose of an antibiotic to help speed up their learning and beat their debilitating habits.

OCD sufferer Savannah, 12, was among the first in the trial, helping overcome her fear of germs.

ABC Gold Coast

Children from seven to 17 years of age with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are needed for the research project involving Queensland's Griffith University and Macquarie University in Sydney.

Lead therapist Jacinda Cadman says the children will receive standard cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) but in a new way.

"What makes out trial a little bit different is where trying to build on the effectiveness of the standard CBT protocol by offer the treatment intensively," she said.

"That means longer sessions over fewer weeks."

Griffith University

Children and teenagers who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCDs) are the focus of new research trials at Griffith University.

This exciting research program has attracted funding from theNational Health and Medical Research Council and the Foundation for Children.

The aim of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief, intensive cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) for paediatric OCD. All children involved in the program receive a free assessment and evidence-based treatment for their OCD.

ABC News

Queensland researchers are tackling children's crippling phobias by exposing them to the very things they fear the most.

It is called intense exposure therapy and it is curing childhood anxiety disorders in less than a day.

The studies at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University's Gold Coast campus are world firsts.

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