13 July 2014 - 14:31
Contact between patients and professionals can frequently be fraught as both sides can have high expectations of each other.
OCD is probably one of the most complex and wide ranging of conditions and many health professionals including some of those who profess to deal with OCD fail to recognise the extent to which it can vary from person to person and more importantly the true extent of the impact that the OCD has on the life of the particular individual that they are dealing with.
It doesn’t help that frequently we don’t recognise or acknowledge all our OCD actions. For instance it wasn’t until I came onto the forum that I realised that I had intrusive thoughts and to a degree magical thinking to name but two. We can become so engrossed in the obsessions and compulsions that we don’t always see the bigger picture.
Frequently we find it difficult to communicate to others including the professionals how bad our OCD is and how it’s limiting our lives and we can find ourselves being labelled as awkward or non compliant when we’re not.
Other conditions both physical and psychological can affect the way that our OCD manifests itself and the way that we deal with it, as can our personality, education and environment. It also affects the way that we relate to others and can have devastating results.
If the conditions are treated in isolation then you are liable to improve one at the expense of the others
My personal theory is that we need to:
- Be open and honest with your psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist. They can’t provide effective treatment and support if you only give them part of the story. There is nothing that you can say that will shock them, they’ve probably heard similar many times. Remember they are there to help you and won’t judge you.
- Relearn how to relate effectively to others, by doing this we can get what we need especially from the professionals without getting distressed or angry. This includes improving our listening skills. It’s not sufficient to hear we need to listen too. Hearing is simply the ability to perceive sounds and happens without any input from us, but listening is something that we consciously choose to do, it requires concentration so that we can process the meaning of the words and sentences.
- Learn to trust your psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist and be guided by their advice.
- Before each session write down using bullet points what you would like to discuss/deal with in each session and then let the psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist know at the beginning of the session what it is that you’d like to discuss so that they can allocate time during the session. Don’t leave it until the end of the session as by then it’s too late.If you don’t understand something, either what has been said or what you’ve been asked to do, then let them know and ask them to explain it. Don’t leave without asking or you’ll walk away from the session feeling frustrated.
- Let them know the impact that OCD is having on your life.
- Don’t keep repeating the same thing over and over again at each session as this makes people, even the professionals, switch off.
- Black and white thinking – this really does impede our recovery. We need to work to remove our black and white thinking and be open and receptive to new ideas and suggestions and willing to try them – and if one thing doesn’t work then we need to try something else.
- Cherry picking – this too impedes our recovery and can at times be seen on this forum. This doesn’t just apply to the written word but also to what we are told. If you just pick out the facts that you like or find acceptable and ignore the facts that you don’t like or find difficult then you can’t make an informed decision. We therefore need to work hard to avoid cherry picking as it’s destructive especially in the context of therapy.
- Homework – this is an important part of CBT. You need to negotiate homework with your therapist and then practise it frequently. The majority of the work needs to be done by you between sessions, your therapist is there to guide you but can’t do the work for you.
- If you are having problems with the homework that has been set then tell your therapist at the next session so that they are aware and can help you.
- Learn how to use various relaxation techniques. Ask your psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist to provide you with and show you how to use them.
Have a look in the OCD Action Information resources section for more information on OCD, in particular look at the following: