Helping Someone You Love
Information for Friends and Family

Choosing A Therapist

Because it’s important to find a therapist who has the proper cognitive behavior therapy training, skills and experience—and with whom your loved one feels comfortable—it’s worthwhile to interview a potential therapist.  Here are some questions to ask a therapist before committing to treatment:

  • Are you trained to use cognitive behavior therapy to treat OCD?
  • Where did you obtain your training?
  • How many clients with OCD have you successfully treated?
  • Are you ever willing to leave the office for treatment sessions?
  • Will you conduct therapy sessions by telephone, if necessary?
  • Are you licensed to practice in this state?
  • What techniques do you use to treat this specific form of OCD?  Hint: you want them to mention Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

Avoid a treatment provider who:

  • Claims that the main technique for managing OCD is relaxation or talk therapy
  • Believes that OCD is caused by childhood trauma, toilet training, self-esteem issues or family dynamics
  • Blames parents or one’s upbringing for OCD
  • Seems guarded or angry at questions about treatment techniques
  • Claims that medication alone is a treatment for OCD

During therapy, your loved one will have to discuss uncomfortable fears and behaviors and be willing to take on exercises the therapist prescribes.  Finding a therapist who is right for your loved one is critical to your success in overcoming OCD.  The therapist will also be able to help a spouse or family member learn how to best respond to OCD behavior, so that the whole family can be a team that works hard to gain control over OCD.

If you live in the Chicago area, you can contact OCD Chicago to discuss therapy options for OCD.  Or, to find a therapist outside the Chicago area, contact the International OCD Foundation.  You can view therapist listings on their web site.

Back to Information for Families