What to Expect in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment

When dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it is important to find a therapist who has experience in the treatment of OCD.  The recommended therapy for OCD is considered to be cogni­tive-behavioral therapy (CBT). While every therapist operates differently, below is a brief summary of what to expect during CBT treatment for OCD.

To start, you and your therapist do a com­prehensive assessment, covering your his­tory and other relevant concerns. You both agree you’re ready to start tackling your OCD so you examine your symp­toms today.
Your therapist gives you your first assign­ment. She tells you, “over the next week, play detective. Look at your life as though a video camera were following you around. Record on a sheet all of your obsessive worries and notice exactly what you do in an attempt to make them go away.”
You and your therapist then begin prepa­rations for the exposure and response pre­vention. Already you have your notes from your own detective work. Together you create a detailed inventory of all your obsessive thoughts, rituals and avoidance behaviors. Then you rank your compulsions by the degree of distress it causes you to experience the obsession and imagine not doing the desired ritual.
You and your therapist design your first exposure assignment. “You want to target a situ­ation you really want to change,” she says. That will motivate you to do the hard work ERP demands of you. But you don’t want to pick something so overwhelming that you aren’t willing to do it.”
Homework will continue and increase in rates of exposure.  Together you and your therapist will fine-tune your treatment plan to help you maintain your momen­tum and get the support you need.
Your success will motivate you as you continue to gain mastery over your OCD. The work is challenging and time consuming and you know you still have more work ahead of you, but your courage is bring­ing you a reward that is life-changing and indescribably sweet.

Source: OCD Treatment: Fighting Back By Laurie Krauth, MA, LLP Ann Arbor, Michigan, OCD Newsletter, Winter 2005

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