Getting help for my OCD…What Will It Be Like?

OCD is a difficult anxiety disorder that can disrupt your daily routine and overall quality of life involving repetitive thoughts that will not subside. There is no cure for OCD however there is excellent research driven treatment that can help you recover, take charge and live a full live.

The key is in getting the right type of therapy with a qualified clinician that is trained in CBT with ERP. The gold standard in treating OCD is exposure and response prevention which is a specific form of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment. It is not talk therapy and you can expect it to be structured, time-limited and focused on specific goals with homework in between sessions.

Many of my clients and parents come to therapy uncertain, nervous and reluctant on what to expect. In this article I would like to help clear up some of those questions. Here are a few of the more common ones: Will you make me do things that are uncomfortable? Will I have to talk about my childhood? What can I do at home to help my child/teen without making their worry/stress worse? Have you heard of or treated my specific issue before?

In therapy with me there will be psycho- education about your disorder, how to best treat it and why exposure and response prevention works to treat our fears. This will include learning about parts of the brain that are involved with OCD and how you get to rewire and sever those unhealthy messages that are currently getting reinforced over and over again.

This therapy is not easy, it is hard work and leaning into the discomfort is part of the process but I can say that you will never be forced to do anything you don’t want. Together we will learn about and create a fear hierarchy. You then get to agree where to begin with exposures. That’s right, you heard me correctly we are not going to have you dive right into you biggest, worst fear. Think of it as a ladder that we are slowly going up together.

Parents, spouses, or other loved ones are an important part of your recovery. Those involved with your treatment will be taught skills in how to be the best coach they can be for you. They can expect to learn how not to provide reassurance anymore but to validate the uncomfortable feelings and challenge you to lean into that fear and solve the problem on your own! Although feelings are uncomfortable they are not dangerous.

It is not necessary to focus on your childhood for exposure and response prevention. In fact exposures look at staying in the moment and not being distracted by past or future events. However everyone presents with a different history and background and there are times when it could be determined that other things need to be addressed before starting this type of therapy. This would be discussed at intake.

Lastly, all phobias come in different shapes and sizes. My clients come with specific fears that are unique to them and that’s ok. There is no need for shame in fact this is one of the ways the OCD tries to keep you stuck and from moving forward in treatment. If you or a loved one would like to learn more please contact Tara Kryman at Minds @ Peace Therapy to schedule an appointment today.

“Choose to lean into the fear, ride the wave , do nothing, and wait for that moment. That spectacular moment is when you realize “I can do this!” “I am in control not my OCD.”

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