Microbiological Experiments

In this procedure the therapist discusses the results of a series of microbiological experiments concerning contamination. The experiments involved the researchers "contaminating" one hand by touching a number of stimuli commonly found to be anxiety provoking to OCD washers, (including garbage bins, toilet doors, and animal hair), while the other hand acted as a control.

Fingerprints from both hands were imprinted on sheep blood agar plates. Following the description of the experiments the therapist directs the patient to the research report findings which state that no disease-causing organisms were isolated from fingerprints on the sheep blood agar plates following contact with OCD-relevant stimuli. No potentially pathogenic organisms were isolated on either the control or the experimental task plates. The microbiological report concludes that none of the tasks involved contamination of the hand with any organisms that were other than normal commensal flora of the skin. Discussion of the results focuses on challenging patient's previous excessive risk estimates associated with these tasks.

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