How to Find an Effective OCD Therapist

How to Find an Effective OCD Therapist

OCD can be very treatable with the right professional help. While other psychological conditions can be treated with a wide variety of techniques, research shows that OCD requires a very specific type of treatment. The type of treatment required to effectively address OCD symptoms requires a certain level of skill, experience, and training. Consider asking any potential treatment provider a few questions to ensure you are receiving the level of treatment that is required to effectively treat OCD.

Questions to Ask Potential OCD Treatment Providers

What type of formal training have you received in treating OCD?

It will be important to find a therapist who received formal training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in graduate school and through individual training and supervision. Also, look for someone who frequently attends CBT and OCD seminars and workshops. Reading about OCD or attending one or two workshops is not sufficient. Finding a psychologist or therapist who has completed the International OCD Foundation’s Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) is a great sign.

How many OCD clients have you worked with?

It is impossible to be a specialist in many areas. Look for someone who devotes most of his or her clinical practice to anxiety disorders.

What results do you see in your practice?

Look for a treatment provider who exhibits confidence in his or her ability to effectively use exposure and response prevention to treat OCD. An experienced OCD treatment provider will highlight that research shows most people experience at least a 50% reduction in symptoms.

What is your approach to treating OCD?

Look for therapists who use phrases like “behavioral,” “cognitive behavioral,” or “exposure and response prevention.” Avoid therapists who vaguely refer to CBT, but do not mention exposure and response prevention.

Can you tell me what therapy for OCD will be like?

OCD specialists help clients gradually face feared thoughts and situations while refraining from compulsions and rituals. Emphasizing thought stopping, relaxation, or hypnosis may be an indicator that the therapist does not have much experience treating OCD.

Are you able to leave your office to help me do exposure therapy?

Look for someone that answers “yes.” Exposure in real-world environments is key and the therapist often needs to be present to help with these exercises in the beginning stages of treatment.

In addition to in-vivo exposure, do you also incorporate imaginal exposure?

Look for an OCD therapist that answers “yes.” Imaginal exposure can be particularly helpful for some obsessions.

Will we do exposure and response prevention together during session or just for homework?

Both are important, so look for an OCD treatment provider who will do exposure practice with you during therapy sessions and collaboratively work with you to develop a plan for exposure practice between sessions.

How long does CBT treatment for OCD last?

Duration of treatment will vary depending on how long OCD symptoms have been experienced, symptom severity, amount of social and familial support, current level of stress, etc.; however, look for a treatment provider who explains that most CBT programs take approximately 20 sessions. Avoid anyone who is claiming that OCD treatment will take significantly more or fewer sessions.

OCD Treatment at Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services

For more information about OCD or to schedule an appointment with an OCD treatment specialist at Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services please call (512) 246-7225 or email us at hello@austinanxiety.com. We are currently accepting new patients at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices.

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  • Round Rock, TX 78665

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  • Austin, TX 78746