A new psychotherapy technique is being used to help people with OCD. This technique is called MeST. MeST combines two other psychotherapy techniques: exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I think MeST is more effective than either ERP or CBT alone.
Currently, Raju Akon is researching on Efficacy of Memory Specificity Training (MeST) in reducing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“MeST is an innovative, new, evidence-based psychotherapy that aims to change the self-limiting beliefs perpetuating OCD. This new approach simultaneously targets multiple thoughts on the cognitive level, allowing clients to gain insight and develop the ability to challenge maladaptive thoughts.”-Raju Akon, Counselling Psychologist, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Evidence for MeST in treating OCD:
- MeST is a new treatment aimed at helping clients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD to generate more specific autobiographical memories.
- Maladaptive cognitive processes, such as Capture and Rumination, Functional Avoidance, and impairments in Executive Control, are often observed in depression, PTSD, and OCD; they independently or interdependently impair the successful recall of specific autobiographic memories.
- Currently, there is no trial on the efficacy of MeST on OCD.
Rationale: How will this study help our existing knowledge and clinical practice?
- MeST is a fairly new treatment methodology, and there is not much information on the utility of MeST if found effective for Bangladeshi clinical practice.
- MeST helps to identify overgeneral memories and make them specific.
- We would need to do more research to determine the efficiency of MeST for OCD clients in the Bangladeshi context.
- If we get effective results from this study, this treatment will enhance the existing knowledge and can be applied to OCD clients along with other treatment procedures.
Treatment available for OCD in Bangladesh
- In Bangladesh, both drugs and psychotherapy are available for OCD clients.
- According to research, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is the most effective treatment for OCD (Algin S et al. 2005).
- Additionally, a class of medications known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is also effective in treating OCD.
The MeST Procedure
Trained counseling psychologists will conduct MEST.
- The present training package consisted of five weekly 120-minute group sessions in one seminar or classroom.
- All words of the training will be different from the words that would use in the AMT.
- The main research question is to examine if there is any significant effect of MeST in reducing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Specifically, we want to explore if MeST helps to reduce obsessive-compulsive symptoms such as obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior among Bangladeshi adults.
- Also, We will investigate if MeST facilitates the overall life satisfaction of OCD clients.
The Procedure for the Study
- Participants will be informed about the purpose and importance of the current study in the context of Bangladesh.
- Before data collection, informed consent will be obtained by establishing rapport with the participants and assuring them of the confidentiality of their responses.
- Next, the participants will be asked to fill out personal information and four scales by following the researchers’ instructions.
Next, we will discuss a few key terms regarding this study:
What is Memory Specificity Training?
Memory specificity training (MST) is a cognitive-behavioral intervention that improves an individual’s capacity to recall specific details about past experiences. The intervention is based on the principle that the specific details of our experiences allow us to access and utilize our memories effectively. MST is an effective treatment for various conditions, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
What is autobiographical memory specificity?
Autobiographical memory specificity is the quality of an individual’s autobiographical memories. Autobiographical memories are specific to an individual and include information about the person’s unique life experiences. The level of specificity of an individual’s autobiographical memories can vary depending on a number of factors, including the person’s age, culture, and memory of specific event details.
Prevalence of OCD in Bangladesh:
N:B: This is ongoing Mphil research under the Educational and Counselling Psychology Department, University of Dhaka; this treatment’s effectiveness will be exposed in the coming years. For any further questions, you can contact us.
In conclusion, MeST is a new form of psychotherapy that acts against OCD by subjecting it to memory-specific therapy. In MeST, the patient is asked to create memory triggers for obsessive thoughts and to be vigilant against these triggers. With MeST, OCD patients can overcome their phobias and obsessions.