It can be very difficult to find an OCD therapist. Many well-qualified, competent therapists do not know much about OCD. Unfortunately, well-meaning but ineffective treatment may make OCD worse. The International OCD Foundation suggests asking the following questions when you seek treatment for OCD.
What techniques do you use to treat OCD? Do you use exposure and response prevention (ERP)?
ERP is the most effective treatment for OCD. If a therapist is not using CBT in general, you probably want to keep looking. I primarily use ERP to treat OCD along with other cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques as needed.
What is your training and background in treating OCD?
Look for someone with training in cognitive behavioral therapy. It is also helpful to have specialized training in the treatment of OCD. I have attended over 20 hours of continuing education about OCD through the IOCDF, of which I am a professional member. I also participate a monthly consultation group with other OCD therapists.
How much of your practice currently involves anxiety disorders?
Over 75% of my current clients are in treatment for anxiety disorders. On any given day, at least 50% of my sessions involve treatment of OCD or a related disorder.
Do you feel you have been effective in your treatment of OCD?
Each of my clients who have committed to working hard at ERP have reported significant improvements.
What is your attitude towards medicine in the treatment of OCD?
Medication can be very helpful in the treatment of OCD. However, it is important to combine medication with psychological treatment (CBT, ERP).
Are you willing to leave your office if needed to do behavoir therapy?
There are times when treatment is best done in the home or community. I work with my clients on ways to protect their privacy and maintain appropriate boundaries while working together outside the office.
For additional questions and resources, you can visit the IOCDF website.