Fixate is a closed Facebook page where historically, both individuals, partners and family members have posted 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 discussions and as a means of providing support. If you want to join, simply search from Fixate on Facebook and ask to join. You will be asked a couple of questions. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Many individuals living with 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 individuals with OCD, and the caregiver, sharing information can go a long way in helping realising they, or you, are not alone.
We are volunteers, not therapists and as such, it is up to you to determine what you want to ‘take’ from these connections.
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. The reason ERP is usually an effective therapy for OCD may be because of the natural process of 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 severe anxiety initially associated with the situation decreases.
( Sourced from The OCD Workbook – see resources section)
More recently, it has been suggested that another natural process called inhibitory learning may also be important for successful outcomes from ERP treatment. By researching precisely when and how ERP therapy is effective, it is hoped that an even higher percentage of individuals will respond positively to this treatment
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a type of CBT that combines acceptance and mindfulness practices together to help people with OCD develop more flexible thinking patterns. ACT is not about eliminating intrusive thoughts. It is about learning to be at peace with the thoughts, and to distance their nature from your identity.
(Sourced from www.intrusivethoughts.org). You can read more here
It is extremely important to check that your psychologist is specifically experienced in OCD treatment so you can get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
How to find therapy in New Zealand
We have contacted some professional bodies with whom NZ psychologists may have registered with. As we develop those connections, we hope to be be able to facilitate a mechanism that makes it easier for members of the public to find a therapist in their region that is experienced in OCD treatment.
It may be that they are not in your area. If not, you might like to consider using this site at the NZ College of Clinical Psychologists to find a therapist in your area, using the prompts given.
Also try this link at the New Zealand Psychological Society and used the ‘search’ options to find a suitable psychologist.
There is another option at the NZ Psychologists Board where you can also use the ‘search the register’ to find our more about psychologists, types and their current status.
Talk to others
Finally, another method is to seek to join the FIXATE Facebook group and once accepted, you can simple ask other members for any of their recommendations and it is for you to decide whether or not to pursue those. Some have posted people they use on Skype or FaceTime overseas especially if their location is not close to a psychological practice or they have been unable to access a therapist as quickly as they like.
Another way used by people who have perhaps had some therapy but need ongoing motivation and support, might be to contact a peer support. OCD peer support specialists is just one organisation who augment treatment with lived experience where you can schedule and pay for a phone, FaceTime of Skype peer support session.
CHOOSING A THERAPIST – suggestions as to what to look for
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.
Here is a short article from Voices of Hope as to what to consider when finding a therapist.
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. This is a useful article about the role of the GP which you may find helpful in terms of knowing what to expect. 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.
In addition to your GP, you may like to talk to a friend or a helpline ( see resources section), if you suspect you may have OCD. It is important to reach out and explain what you might be feeling.