Tips for Interviewing a Therapist for Your OCD

Janet from the ocdtalk blog pointed me to the International OCD Foundation’s website for this list.  I hope it will be helpful for you as you seek appropriate treatment for your OCD.  I can’t stress this enough: OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVES SHOULD NOT WASTE THEIR TIME ON TALK THERAPY.  YOU NEED COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, SPECIFICALLY EXPOSURE AND RESPONSE PREVENTION THERAPY.

“What techniques do you use to treat OCD?”
If the therapist is vague, or does not mention cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), use caution.

“Do you use Exposure and Response Prevention to treat OCD?”
Be cautious of therapists who say they use CBT, but won’t be more specific.

“What is your training and background in treating OCD?”
If they say they went to a CBT psychology graduate program or did a post-doctoral fellowship in CBT, it is a good sign. Another positive is if a therapist says they are a member of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) or the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists (ABCT). Also, look for therapists who say they have attended specialized workshops or trainings offered by the IOCDF, like our Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) or Annual Conference.

“How much of your practice currently involves anxiety disorders?”

“Do you feel that you have been effective in your treatment of OCD?”

“What is your attitude towards medicine in the treatment of OCD?”
If they are negative about medicine, this is a bad sign. Medicine is an effective treatment for OCD.

“Are you willing to leave your office if needed to do behavior therapy?”
It is sometimes necessary to go out of the office to do effective ERP.

5 thoughts on “Tips for Interviewing a Therapist for Your OCD

  1. Pingback: OCD torture | lightsallaround

  2. Pingback: Hope for the Hopeless Obsessive-Compulsive | lightsallaround

  3. Hi Jackie,
    I remember you saying that medicine is an effective treatment for OCD. Do they have big side effects? I don’t want them to affect the other components of my life (school, hobbies, interests, etc..)

    • Generally, I say that medicine PLUS exposure therapy is effective. I would not usually recommend medication without the ERP. ERP is the frontline treatment.

      Medications often have side effects, and they affect different people differently. So, unfortunately, it’s sort of a trial and error to find the right medication. It took me a long time (4-5 years), but it was worth it. For some people, they hit the jackpot on the first try!

      But don’t neglect ERP therapy.

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