Finding a Therapist for OCD
Do your research, meet them before you commit, make sure they know about OCD!
It may seem stupid to double check that your new potential therapist knows about OCD as they're a therapist, they're there to help you right? And surely they wouldn't offer you their services if they didn't? Well, you'd like to think so but this isn't always the case. This articles was sparked this morning in my imagination after I attended an assessment at a new therapy practice in the hopes of finding a full time and long-term therapist.
After rounds and rounds of CBT sessions lasting of 10 weeks, I felt much better and capable of managing my OCD but not without really being in a stage of recovery. I'm only to blame with my complacency of things as I know I let my ERP tasks suffer from day to day and this is one of the reasons why i'm seeking the help of a private helper, that and the fact it's become so severe in the last 2 weeks that i'm now left unable to walk down the street without my boyfriend or even send emails at work.
But hey ho, life goes on and so the only thing I could do was try and find help. I was recommended therapists from the OCD UK charity (listen to them, they know what they're talking about) and from my best friends who helped me do some research.
However, Amy Wildsmith can sometimes be a bit of a cheap skate and so having seen the prices of the OCD specialists, I looked into some other therapists in Brighton who did CBT. Hoorah! I found someone for £45 a session, all her background and qualifications check and she worked at a well respected practice in the city. So I arranged a meeting with her for this morning.
I honest to god nearly walked out.
"Your compulsion to confess to your boyfriend is good because we all feel better when we talk"
"What do you mean you have sexual thoughts about children?"
I'm sorry, what?
"Maybe the reason you can't look at men right now is built up from a traumatic event and that's the same with the kids, you just haven't dealt with something in your past."
At this point I actually asked her if she knew about OCD. To which I was met with a stern "Yes, of course."
Luckily, I am someone who has undergone rounds of therapy before and I understand my disorder but I honestly couldn't begin to fathom what that session would have done to someone who was unaware that they had OCD. I felt stupid and ridiculed and made to question my own head about what I knew to be fact.
I left in a strop and rang my boyfriend to have a rant but he clearly pointed out to me a point I hadn't even thought about. Was it really the therapist's fault? If they don't understand OCD or know about it, then was she only doing what she feels suited best? And the answer is probably yes. I was so quick to blame her and think about how terrible it had been when in reality, she just didn't know what I was talking about.
My advice to anyone with OCD looking for private therapy, is to fully do your research. Have they treated OCD before? Have they been recommended to you by someone you trust? Have you looked at OCD charity websites for information on what qualifications to look for?
I can't stress how important it is to find the right person to work with, it's the only way to find someone who can help you specifically. Please, please do you research.