OCD Sufferer’s Panel accompanying my OCD Awareness Week presentation

This is from a an OCD Awareness Week Event. This is the panel that followed my presentation, “The ABCs of Overcoming OCD.” The speakers, Liz McInvale, Ethan Smith and Jeff Bell humble me with their life stories and their bravery. I hope I could do as well as them if I were in their circumstances.  Click here to see their panel.

The ABC’s of OCD – an introduction to OCD treatment

This is from a livestreamed OCD Awareness Week Event. Click here to watch  my presentation of “The ABCs of Overcoming OCD.” My thanks to Liz McInvale, Ethan Smith, Jeff Bell and Barbara Van Oppen for putting this together and for there wonderful presentations. You can check out their presentation which is also shared on this site.

OCD Stories interview with me

Click on this link, OCD Stories,  to watch a podcast interview with me on The OCDStories – a site dedicated to sharing stories of those with OCD and information from professionals.

Free OCD Speakers Series & USC Genetic Study Event

WHEN:
Sunday March 13 2016,  10:30am – 4:00pm (if you have OCD or an OCD related disorder ( hoarding, skin picking, hairpulling, body dysmorphic disorder, you may be eligible to participate! Study enrollment opens at 10:30)

WHERE:
Courtyard Marriott Pasadena
180 N Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA
(Free parking on the street)

RSVP:
By March 7, 2016 to vannoppe@usc.edu

* Light refreshments will be provided

Presentations:

11:00am-12:15pm
Jonathan Grayson, PhD, The Grayson LA Treatment Center for Anxiety and OCD
“The ABC’s of OCD: Understanding OCD and its Treatment”

1:00 pm-1:45 pm:
Barbara Van Noppen, PhD, University of Southern California
“The Role of Family in OCD”

1:45pm-2:30pm:
Chris Trondsen, The Gateway Institute
“Life Beyond OCD”

2:30pm-3:30pm:
Question and Answer Panel

10:30am-4:00pm:
**Study Enrollment all day (compensation will be provided)

* Research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
 Approved by USC HS-IRB 10-00299.

Relapse Prevention Tips: The Right Attitude

When you are in the middle of suffering from OCD, all of your attention is upon overcoming OCD, that future time when everything will be okay forever.  But it won’t be that way.  Life will be wonderful, but  real life is also full of ups and downs.  After a honeymoon period of having freedom, your next task will be living – finding out how to fill all of that time that used to be devoted to OCD, whether that time way eaten by behavioral or mental rituals.   If you have OCD, you have a wonderfully creative mind and if you don’t use it, OCD will.

And then there is slipping.  It turns out that for any behavior a person has to work on changing , slips will occur.  Your OCD was like a garden full of weeds.  You’ve gone through treatment and worked incredibly hard cleaning out the weeds and planting what you want  –  your garden is beautiful, but weeds will grow.   You have to decide how much effort you want to put into keeping it beautiful, because you can let it get overgrown with weeds again.  The good news is that no matter how much you slip, no matter how weedy your garden becomes, you can always come back, but the more you slip the more work you will have.  In future posts I will discuss some of the relapse prevention that is in my book.  The main focus of this post is a friend of mine, Shala Nicely who is an OCD Therapist; that is, she is a wonderful therapist who treats OCD and she has OCD.  She attended the 2014 International OCD Foundation Conference in LA and attended my “virtual camping” trip.  Shala’s OCD is never going to take control of her again, but she will slip.  Slipping is normal and your relapse prevention work is to make slips less frequent and to keep them small. A major part of the work is learning to have the right attitude.  If you expect to have slips and expect to have to battle them, you will be ready.  If you expect to never have a slip, OCD will blindside you and you will fall.  Click on this link for Shala’s 2014 IOCDF experience to see the fighting attitude you want to learn to adopt to maintain treatment gains.  Shala, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your courage and wisdom.

OCD Treatment In LA!

It’s official, I will be relocating to LA on Dec. 1 this year and starting a new anxiety and OCD treatment center there. The new office will be in LA county (I’m open to suggestions for possible locations, but please have reasons other than convenient to where you might live). Go to LAOCDTreatment.com for:

  1. New center updates or;
  2. if you are interested in becoming a patient or;
  3. joining the free GOAL support group

 

 

OCD and Hope

OCD can be devastating, but there is treatment that works.  When reading comments from other readers that may sound hopeless, please search through the thread – it is likely that earlier on I did discuss some of what can be done for that manifestation of OCD.  I’ve been working with OCD since 1978 (I know, I’m ancient) and I haven’t seen a manifestation/presentation that can’t be treated successfully.  At the same time, I have seen many people suffer needlessly from bad treatment.  If you’re seeing a therapist and that therapist doesn’t mention exposure and response prevention as a part of treatment, you are probably in the wrong office.  The updated edition of my book (Freedom From OCD) covers many different OCD presentations.  If yours isn’t in it, it doesn’t mean you are untreatable, so there is no reason to give up hope.  A good place to find  a therapist is the Find-A-Therapist section of the International OCD Foundation‘s website and you should look for someone who is BTTI faculty or a BTTI graduate.  Take care all and don’t lose hope.

Freedom From OCD 2nd Edition is Now Available!

The second edition of Freedom From OCD is now available.  It includes updated treatment information (e.g. incorporating ACT into ERP), more OCD presentations (e.g. Relationship OCD, Sensory-Focused OCD, Obsessing about Obsessing) and others.
There is also a website for the new edition: FreedomFromOCD.com.   The website allows users to download all of the forms that appear in the book for free.  In addition, the FreedomFromOCD.com, website makes available other OCD articles and  MP3s (currently just 1) that can be used for scripts.
The materials on the site are for anyone to use, purchase of the book is not necessary.

SITE NEWS — 2nd Edition of Freedom from OCD has a publication date!

For those of you who have been checking this site, I’d like to thank you for your support and apologize for not blogging enough.

Update on the release of the 2nd edition of Freedom from OCD.  I just heard from the publisher that the release date is April 1, 2014.   At worst, the book would be 1 or 2 weeks later.  The 2nd addition will include additional manifestations of OCD, such a relationship OCD, sections on coping with treatment interfering behaviors (TIBs), how to add Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to your program of exposure and response prevention and much more.  In addition, because in the electronic editions of the book, the forms aren’t printable, they will be available for free download on a site, that I will announce when we have it up and running.

Again thanks for your patience and remember, OCD is a problem that can be ruled by you rather than the reverse.

Knowing You Have OCD With Certainty

Max in a post to this site asked what about convincing someone, with certainty, that they have OCD, since this would be comforting and reassuring.   There are three problems with this approach.  First, as I’ve noted elsewhere, research has shown us that the only people who have absolute certainty are stupid, which eliminates this as a possibility for most OCD sufferers.  Seriously, we find that attempts to reassure oneself by saying ‘x’ is OCD followed by the comfort that I don’t have to worry about ‘x,’ tends to be a short run solution.  Usually the sufferer at some point will then begin to obsess and try to reassure him/herself that the problem is OCD and the circle goes round and round (this is 2 of the three points).  We are for the sufferer admitting that it is likely that they have OCD, but that this is independent of whether or not there feared consequences are avoidable.  For example, if your OCD issues focus on wanting your loved ones to never die, the fact this is an OCD concern is independent of the fact that your loved ones might die at any time, so treatment has to help you cope with this fact of life.  Now it is true that some OCD concerns may involve lower probability fears, but that isn’t relevant to treatment.  Whatever you fear is what the focus of treatment needs to be on.   The goal is always twofold: I need to cope with the uncertainty that ‘x’ may happen; and no matter how horrific ‘x’ is, I need to try to figure out a positive way to cope with it, if it does happen.