The Center for OCD and Related Disorders

About Us

Founded in 1982, the Anxiety Disorders Clinic was the first in the nation devoted to research and treatment of anxiety problems. Although the idea that anxiety could take the form of specific disorders had been increasingly recognized, little systematic information about these disorders was available at the time. The clinic has been a driving force behind the recent advances in the recognition, understanding, and/or treatment of anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, social phobiaobsessive-compulsive disorder and others. Our counterpart Hispanic Clinic offers research treatment in Spanish and is a valuable asset in the community.

The OCD research program is dedicated to the mission of improving the lives of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders by conducting cutting edge research to transform how we understand and treat these disorders. For the patients of today, we examine how to combine and sequence current treatments to maximize outcome, and we explore novel treatments. For the patients of tomorrow, we collaborate with experts in neuroimaging, genetics, and basic science to examine what causes obsessions and compulsions.

Our Research Specialties

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) treatment
  • Exposure and response prevention (EX/RP; ERP)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Medication Treatment for OCD

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related disorders by conducting cutting edge research. For patients today, we study how to combine and sequence current OCD treatments to maximize outcomes, and we explore novel treatments. For the patients of tomorrow, we collaborate with imagers, geneticists, and basic scientists to examine the causes of OCD.

"I went to other therapists and psychiatrists and that just made it worse for me. This type of treatment was the best for me and was the only thing that actually helped." -- Client

"Such a friendly, caring and knowledgeable staff who are truly experts in OCD.  During treatment I actually experienced a freedom/lightness that I had never experienced before, which made me look at the world around me in a much different perspective.  A perspective that no longer saw everything as a worry or a fear, but rather as an opportunity and as a hope for a less rigid way of life." -- Client

    Our OCD treatment studies:

    All evaluations and treatment provided is at no cost to you and is delivered by our team of dedicated clinicians. We offer a variety of treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) consisting of exposure and response or ritual prevention (EX/RP or ERP), novel medications, and new ways of delivering CBT (e.g., via the internet). These treatments are available for individuals who have not received treatment, who have received treatment, and those who have not benefited from standard treatment.

    For more information about these studies, click here.

    If you are interested in learning more about the treatment studies offered through our center, please contact: Rachel Middleton at (646) 774-8138 or

    If you are interested in learning more about the other research studies offered through our center, please contact: Sarah Altman-Ezzard at (646) 774-8062 or

    Our Collaborators

    We collaborate with many leading experts from around the world, including Drs. Eurípedes Miguel and Roseli Gedanke Shavitt at the University of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil, Drs. Janardhan Reddy and Janardhanan CN at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, Dr. Odile van den Heuvel at Amsterdam University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Dr. Dan Stein and Chrsitine Lochner at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. 

    For clinical trials we collaborate with Dr. Edna Foa (the author of “Stop Obsessing”) at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania.

    For laboratory paradigms we collaborate with Drs. Elizabeth Phelps and Catherine Hartley at New York University.

    For genetic studies we collaborate with Dr. Tom Fernandez at Yale University and Dr. David Goldstein at the Institute of Genomic Medicine at Columbia University.

    We also collaborate with leading scientists within Columbia University Medical Center. Including, Dr. Rachel Marsh, Director of MRI research, Dr. Meg Haney, Director of the Marijuana Research Laboratory and Co-Director of the Substance Use Research Center, Dr. René Hen, Director of the Division of Integrative Neuroscience, Dr. Rui Costa in the Department of Neuroscience, and Dr. Melanie Wall and her biostatistics team. 

    Help Support Us

    The Center for OCD and Related Disorders is supported by grants, individuals and foundations. This generous support is vital to our existence and mission; it enables mental health research to continue toward the goal of eradicating disease and improving the lives of those who suffer from mental illness. All contributions, large and small, allow us to offer cost-free treatment to individuals in need through our research initiatives. Please consider making a gift to our program today.

    On behalf of entire OCD Research Clinic team, and all of the individuals we serve, thank you for your consideration, generosity and support.

    Contributions can be sent to the following address, with checks made payable to "Columbia University" and OCD Research Clinic" in the memo line:

    Dr. Helen Blair Simpson
    Columbia University/NYSPI
    1051 Riverside Drive, Unit #69
    New York, NY 10032

    Thank You Very Much for Helping Us!

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    Principal Investigators

    • Profile Headshot
      • Vice Chair of Research, Department of Psychiatry
      • Director, Translational Therapeutics Program, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York NY
      • Co-Researcher Director, The Youth Anxiety Center, NY-Presbyterian Hospital, New York NY
      • Director, Center for Obsessive-Compulsive & Related Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York NY