Obsessive compulsive disorder can be a very tough thing to live with. OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions become excessive such as an hour or more each day, cause distress, or interfere with daily life to the point that you cannot enjoy life with your family or friends. It can make it hard to do schoolwork or even function at your job. You thoughts, impulses are extremely difficult to control or suppress. Mastering it and yourself can help dramatically and these tips are here to help.
Ask Your Therapist to Introduce Themselves
In order for therapy to be effective, you must feel comfortable talking with your therapist. Part of this is understanding their story and getting to know them. If your therapist does not introduce themselves at the beginning of your therapy session, ask them to introduce themselves. One way to ensure a proper introduction is made is to introduce yourself when the therapist comes into the office. If the therapist does not give you their name, ask them if they mind telling you their name. If you have a nickname that you prefer being called, make sure that you let your therapist know. The therapist will only have a record of your official name. If you go by another name like Bill instead of William, make sure to inform your therapist that you would prefer to be called by Bill. Finally, if you forget your therapist’s name, do not be afraid to ask them what their name is again. It will not hurt the therapist’s feeling. The therapist will have made notes of what name you prefer to be called; however, you will have no such luxury.
Take Time to Educate Yourself
According to Claritychi you should have at least a basic understanding of OCD and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This information should include what the illness is, what symptoms it causes and how CBT works. Knowledge is the key to having a breakthrough. There is plenty of information on the internet as well as books, DVDs and CDs that explain what OCD is and how you can overcome it. We recommend two books to our OCD patients – Break Free from OCD and Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Both of these books will enlighten you on how OCD works and the steps you can take to overcome your OCD.
Take Notes Before Your First Session
Beginning therapy can be emotional and scary, which can make you forget things that you want to let your therapist know during your initial session. One way to help is to bring a notepad filled with notes. In the weeks or days before your initial appointment, write down how OCD is affecting your life. You can keep this in a physical notepad or on your smartphone. Having these notes at your appointment will help make sure that your therapist will understand how OCD affects your life and may provide you with tips to help you deal with your OCD.
Stop Thinking Those Thoughts
There are some therapists that will actually suggest that you stop having your compulsions or stop having obsessive thoughts. It is much easier said than done. If your therapist suggests this, do not get upset, but ask the therapist how you are supposed to do that. You can explain that you understand that not having those thoughts would be ideal; however, you need the therapist to explain to you how to stop having those types of thoughts.
Record Your Therapy Sessions
Therapy is an emotional experience. Because of all of the emotions you may be experiencing, you may fail to tell your therapist something important or forget something that your therapist tells you. OCD specialists often recommend that their patients record their therapy sessions so they can go back and listen to the session at a later time. This can help them better understand what was discussed during the session. It is important that you tell your therapist that you will be recording your sessions. One great way to make an audio recording is to use your smartphone; however, it can quickly fill up the memory on your smartphone. Another option is to purchase a small dictaphone like the Sony 4GB dictaphone.
Listening to therapy sessions can be uncomfortable and hard; however, it is essential that you listen to your therapy sessions to help maximize the effectiveness of your OCD therapy. You may realize that there are aspects of your discussion that you missed or you may realize that there are things that you left that you need to discuss with your therapist. If you do find things that you need to discuss, make a note of it so you can discuss it at your next appointment.
Do Your Homework
Cognitive behavioral therapy is typically done when you are away from the office. Most of the work will be done by you at home. Your therapist will usually give your homework that is to be completed between your therapy sessions. If at the end of your third session, your therapist has not assigned you any homework, ask them why they haven’t and request that they give you some things to work on between sessions.
Therapy requires that you do work; therefore, need to be committed to completing any work that your therapist recommends. You should attempt to complete all homework that you are given and discuss it with your therapist at your next appointment.
Some therapists can be forgetful. If your therapist forgets to ask about your homework, make sure to bring it up. Do not worry if you are unable to complete your homework. The therapist needs to know this information so that you can work together to come up with exercises that you are ready to complete. As you progress, new exercises will be added to help you overcome your OCD.
Get Your Loved Ones Involved
If you live with a partner, a roommate or your parents, they can help, but only if they know how to help. Ask them if they can help you with your homework. To be effective, you will need to explain what is involved and how they can help you. Additionally, they can provide motivational support; however, make sure that they know you that you need motivation, not just reassurance. Ask your session if they can write a letter explaining what your loved ones should and should not be doing to assist you on your road to recovery from OCD. The therapist may recommend that your loved ones attend a 20 to 30 minute joint session to learn more about your condition and how they can aid in your recovery.
Location of Your Treatment
Many OCD sufferers often experience their OCD in one location, such as their home or public places like work, shopping centers, etc. In a perfect world, your therapist would meet you at this location and conduct your therapy there. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic expectation to have. Instead, you will need to do your homework by yourself or with the help of a loved one. If you do not think you can manage it alone, ask your therapist if they can arrange a session at your trigger location. If they will do this, it will usually be in the early morning or late evening so that they do not lose valuable patient time.
It Takes Time
You must understand that overcoming OCD will take time. Most patients will have therapy once a week or once every two weeks. In the beginning, your sessions will be an hour. This will give you time to discuss your homework without spending time focusing on a thousand other things.
If your therapist does not offer more frequent sessions, ask them if they can at least offer an hour long session. There will be times when this will be impossible; however, most of the time the therapist should be able to accommodate your request. If not, ask if you can book a double session.