Assessment and Treatment of Pathological Skin Picking

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Pathological skin picking (PSP) refers to chronic skin picking or scratching that causes tissue damage and distress. It is a heterogeneous category of behaviors and may be manifest in the context of various psychological disorders. This chapter presents an overview of the empirical literature on the assessment and treatment of PSP, including (1) a cognitive-behavioral model as heuristic for conceptualizing treatment, (2) assessment tools, (3) a review of the pharmacological and psychosocial treatment outcome literatures, (4) cognitive-behavioral treatment techniques, and (5) future directions. The chapter is intended to introduce the clinician to the assessment and psychological tools used to treat PSP, as well as to provide impetus to advance research in this understudied domain.

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