What do OCD therapists do? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
therapists will generally focus on helping clients recognize the irrational nature of their obsessions and gradually increase their tolerance for the anxiety they create, without resorting to compulsions. OCD treatment should not be expected to neutralize anxiety altogether; instead, an effective therapist will, with persistence and empathy, help the client accept their anxiety, build confidence in their ability to manage it, and identify the coping skills that can help them when anxious thoughts or behaviors reoccur.
Who can diagnose OCD? A licensed and trained mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can diagnose OCD. Primary care physicians or family doctors may also assess patients for OCD symptoms and can make a diagnosis, but will typically refer them to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment.
What is the best therapy for OCD?
A specific type of cognitive behavioural therapy called Exposure and response prevention (ERP)
is generally viewed as the first-line treatment for OCD. During ERP, the client is gradually exposed to thoughts or situations that produce anxiety without resorting to the corresponding compulsion; for example, someone who struggles with germ-related fears may be asked to touch increasingly dirty objects without washing their hands afterward. With time, the client will learn that anxiety can be tolerated without engaging in compulsive behaviours.
Can you overcome OCD with therapy? Therapeutic approaches that are specifically designed to treat OCD, such as exposure and response prevention therapy, can dramatically reduce symptoms, eliminating some entirely and bringing others down to levels that can be effectively managed in day-to-day life. Like many psychiatric disorders, OCD is not likely to disappear altogether, but significant relief is within reach for many who struggle with the condition.