FIXATE

FIXATE Facebook Page

Fixate is a closed facebook page where historically, both sufferers and family members post informative articles or make recommendations about movies, podcasts or youtube clips which they feel are helpful.

It is also a way for people to connect. You may like to meet up for a chat in person, or message or phone each other purely as a way of talking through any issues and to feel that you are not alone.

The Fixate Facebook page will continue as a closed page to host more private personal information and as a means of providing support. If you want to join, simply search from Fixate on Facebook and ask to join. You might like to post a little about your situation and where you live. If you don’t feel comfortable with this approach, another way is to email us at ocd.org.nz@gmail.com

We are volunteers, not therapists and as such, it is up to you to determine what you want to ‘take’ from these connections. Many sufferers of OCD, of course,  may find it difficult to reach out for this type of support. They may be embarrassed about their thoughts and their compulsions, they may be feeling incredibly scared, angry and anxious.  Please respect their bravery.

One of the things that comes through in the literature about OCD, is that for both the sufferer and the caregiver, sharing information can go a long way in helping realising they, or you, are not alone.

Psychologists

You are likely to want to find a therapist that is experienced in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and specifically in Obsessive Compulsive Therapy. The word  ‘cognitive’ in CBT refers to specific methods and techniques that help change faulty ideas and beliefs, including those prevalent in OCD. The word ‘behaviour’ refers to methods  for changing behaviour or the actions, such as compulsive rituals of OCD. It can include many approaches and techniques. 

One therapy considered to be effective for OCD is Exposure and Response prevention (ERP) or sometimes called Exposure and Ritual Prevention . Another is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

The purpose of ERP is to reduce the anxiety and discomfort associated with obsessions through the natural process of sensory habituation. Habituation, which is hardwired into the brain, is a natural process whereby the central nervous system gets used to the stimuli through repeated prolonged contact ;you might even say the nervous system gets bored with the stimuli. You can design prolonged exposures to the real life situations ( in vivo) that provoke anxiety and cause you to do rituals or compulsions. Through repeated practice, the person realises that the feared disastrous consequences don’t occur, and the sever anxiety initially association with the situation decreases.

( Sourced from The OCD Workbook – see resources section)

There are many references to ERP, how it works and what to expect. Please see some examples and further information here from OCD UK and Understanding Exposure Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a type of CBT that combines acceptance and mindfulness practices together to help OCD sufferers develop more flexible thinking patterns. ACT is not about eliminating intrusive thoughts. It is about learning to be at peace with then distance their nature from your identity. (Sourced from www.intrusivethoughts.org). You can read more here

You can read more about ACT from the IOCDF and there are numerous podcast episodes on The OCD stories e.g Episode 151 by Russ Harris, author of the Happiness Trap ( see resources section).

It is extremely worthwhile to check that your psychologist is experienced in OCD so you can get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

How to find therapy

We have contacted three organisations with whom NZ psychologists may have registered with. These include the New Zealand College of Clinical Pschologists, the New Zealand Psychological Society and the Australia New Zealand Cognitive Behavioural Therapies ( ANZACBT). We are asking these central bodies to inform their members that this website exists so that their OCD patients can be informed of its existence and also about the Facebook page Fixate. As we develop this website, we hope to include contact details of clinicians in NZ, with their permission, who are experienced in OCD treatment, so……. watch this space!

It may be that they are not in your area. If not, you might like to consider using this site to find a therapist.

https://www.nzccp.co.nz/for-the-public/find-a-clinical-psychologist/

FINDING A THERAPIST

Because treatment can be expensive and time  consuming, it is important to select your therapist carefully. Unfortunately, it can take some people years to be diagnosed so it is important to find a therapist who is right for you.

Possible questions to ask your therapist

You might like to ask some of the following questions:-

What techniques or methods do you generally use to treat OCD? (Hopefully CBT or behavioural therapy are mentioned). 

What kinds of behavioural therapy are used? (You would hope to hear about ERP and/or ACT).

Are you registered and with whom?

  • What is your experience with OCD? How many patients have they treated, do they know someone who has it?
  • Where did you learn about OCD treament? (Training and experience is important. Look for someone who has had intensive training in CBT for anxiety disorders and ongoing case supervision).
  • Would you be willing to leave your office to do exposure and response prevention as needed? (Flexibility is key here).
  • Do you support the use of appropriate medication for OCD when needed? 

It’s also important to ask yourself a few questions. Consider if you feel you’ll get along with them, can you talk comfortably and openly, can you trust their knowledge and expertise. You must also be willing to do whatever he or she says is necessary to make progress, so trust is key. 

There are numbers different forms a clinician might use to determine the severity of OCD symptoms. The score on the scale can help determine the kind of help you may need. It may be used at the beginning and end of your journey to monitor progress. This one is called the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale ( Y-BOCS) but there are others. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2527/cd18859a78f210cca0a92d25f739716d8978.pdf

You may also like to investigate some self help options. Please refer to the Resources section on this website. One guide that continually pops up in the literature is ‘The OCD Workbook’ which is a step by step guide to overcoming OCD with helpful hints for family members. It discusses detailing a hierachy of exposures ( situations or ‘experiments’) to help you to face your obsessions whilst not engaging in exposures.

There is also an App called NOCD which you might like to investigate once you have an understanding of types of treatment. https://www.treatmyocd.com/

Psychiatrists and Medication

Please consult with your GP. Indeed your GP may refer you to a psychiatrist for treatment. The most effective medications for treating OCD are in the class of drugs know as antidepressants, specifically the selective reuptake inhibitors ( SSRIs).  The power of medications is to rapidly reduce anxiety, relieve depressive symptoms and improve mood, focus, and concentration.

Please see here from some information concerning medications which might be prescribed.

This can give the person a big leg up in the facing the work of CBT.

Ultimately,  most people with OCD will experience the greatest benefits from a combination of medication and CBT , the former delivered usually by a psychiatrist and the latter delivered by a psychologist or therapist specifically trained in the use of CBT techniques of OCD symptoms.