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Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy


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Today I went to my first OCD group session and I don't ever want to go back. It's an hour and a half (although you're encouraged to come in and leave whenever you want so people continuously walk in throughout the session) and there was somewhere around 15 or 20 people. The therapist just zips along asking each person whether they did their "homework" (whatever ERP thing they were assigned) and they get a few minutes to explain how it went. Since this was my first time and I didn't have any "homework" I didn't get to say anything. Relating to other people seems to be discouraged, saying anything that isn't whether or not you did your "homework" is discouraged. I would like to get help for OCD, but I would like someone to talk things out with. Getting a few minutes to speak before rushing on to the next person doesn't seem very helpful to me. I'd like to have some time to maybe discuss what is OCD because I just got placed in this group without getting a chance to talk about it, and also speak to other people about similar experiences. I also think my social anxiety is worse than my OCD so I can't see how being in close quarters with 20 strangers in a small room is going to work for me. My regular group usually has around five people in it and I feel much more comfortable there.

So I guess this post is partially a vent, but also I'd like to know if anyone has had success with this type of therapy.

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I am not sure poe who put you in the group and how you got there. I have several times observed/participated in a group where exposure therapy was practiced. But everyone these knew why they were present. I think it is bizarre, very odd that you were not introduced to the group, given a chance to say something about why you were present. You need to talk with the therapist. I would go again and give it another chance.

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Yeah I agree that's weird that you weren't introduced. Also I'm the same way in that I like being able to talk things out and share experiences in a smaller group. Even in DBT where we have homework we all talk to each other and work on stuff together.

I don't know though, like ladybug said it's probably a good idea to give it another shot before you leave. But if it really seems ineffective for you after a few sessions I wouldn't hesitate too much to get out of it.

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I am not sure poe who put you in the group and how you got there. I have several times observed/participated in a group where exposure therapy was practiced. But everyone these knew why they were present. I think it is bizarre, very odd that you were not introduced to the group, given a chance to say something about why you were present. You need to talk with the therapist. I would go again and give it another chance.

I told my regular therapist I thought I had OCD and gave her a list of what I thought were my symptoms. She agreed with me and showed my letter to the woman who runs the OCD group. That woman also agreed that I have OCD and that I should go to her group. I was introduced to the group, in that I had to say my name because everyone had to go around in a circle and say their name. She told me my homework for the week is to make a list of my OCD symptoms which I thought was dumb because I already did that and she read it. I reminded her of that, but she seemed really rushed and apparently she wants me to do it again. I really don't want to go back and at the risk of sounding dramatic I spent the whole group time trying not to cry because I hoped this group was going to be helpful and I would be able to talk to people who understand but instead I just felt trapped and uncomfortable.

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Some groups are focussed on sharing, tend to be unstructured and flow freely, others are more skills based and tend to be very rigid. In most groups, rules about length of sharing are important because in any group, someone will dominate and someone else will avoid sharing, and so it's normal in most groups for there to be a template for how long to share for. Similarly, having a larger group with shifting numbers can be a therapeutic set up to help people learn to tolerate change and uncertainty, it may not be badly organised as much as it is deliberate that people drop in.

It seems to me that you want to find out about OCD and explore how it came about, whereas the group you're in is about coping with it and sharing experiences of therapy for it. I suppose your choice is whether you seek the finding out and answers somewhere else, and attend the group to do the homework, or if you aren't ready or willing to engage in therapy for OCD right now, and you need something else at the moment.

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If that's your only available OCD group you may want to give it another few go rounds before giving up entirely. Usually the first few times in any new group are the hardest, especially with social anxiety.

If you simply can't, can you work on the OCD stuff for now in individual therapy? Maybe you could talk with your therapist about that option?

Anna

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If that's your only available OCD group you may want to give it another few go rounds before giving up entirely. Usually the first few times in any new group are the hardest, especially with social anxiety.

If you simply can't, can you work on the OCD stuff for now in individual therapy? Maybe you could talk with your therapist about that option?

Anna

Maybe I'll give it another chance. I see my regular therapist tomorrow so I'll talk to her about it. She wanted me in the OCD group because OCD isn't an area she feels familiar enough with to help me. I have a regular group every week but I'm only allowed a small number of individual therapy sessions a year and OCD isn't really something I want to talk about in my group because no one else has it.

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I haven't heard of a group structured quite like that, but I agree with everyone in that give it a go. You may find it useful.

Also, OCD is very responsive to therapy. Could you see a CBT therapist? They tend to know a lot about treating OCD, and they often do it in a short time frame.

Another thing - check out the OCD Workbook in the Crazystore. It's a good read. It has a bit of education and exercises to work on.

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I haven't heard of a group structured quite like that, but I agree with everyone in that give it a go. You may find it useful.

Also, OCD is very responsive to therapy. Could you see a CBT therapist? They tend to know a lot about treating OCD, and they often do it in a short time frame.

Another thing - check out the OCD Workbook in the Crazystore. It's a good read. It has a bit of education and exercises to work on.

The OCD group is the only thing available to me. Yeah I was planning on checking the workbook out.

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