Helping Someone You Love
Information for Friends and Family

Family Behavior Contracts

Family OCD Contracts are like business contracts—everyone must agree on what’s included and then stick with it.


When all family members agree to specific behaviors involving how OCD is accommodated, the chances of gaining control over OCD can dramatically increase.  Cognitive behavior therapists sometimes refer to this agreement as a “family contract” or “behavioral contract”.  It’s a “roadmap” you will follow when you agree to work together as a team to fight OCD.

This contract generally sets forth specific behaviors you and your loved one who suffers with OCD will stop doing, and also includes new behaviors you each will do differently.  The behaviors are not the short-term quick fixes that may have been used in the past to accommodate behavior (such as avoidance) or participate in rituals.  It’s a longer-term plan that sets forth specific kinds of responses to specific OCD behaviors.

Developing a Contract

Similar to how business contracts are developed, the key to developing a contract that all involved can agree to depends on upfront planning.  Your cognitive behavioral therapist will guide you, but you have to be very clear in articulating the problems you want to solve and in determining a step-by-step process with a viable time line.  If you overlook parts of the problem, take a too- aggressive approach or build a timeline that is too long or short, you won’t see the changes you expect.

Click here for an example

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