OCD Chicago

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

What To Ask A Prospective Therapist

A cognitive behavior therapist should be happy to speak with you about your child’s or teen’s OCD and should agree to answer some fact-finding questions from you.  You need to be comfortable with the therapist because he or she will be guiding you through every step of your child’s treatment, and will give you advice, ideas and directions to help you manage the child’s progress between sessions.

State-of-the-art OCD treatment is Cognitive Behavior Therapy and you must make sure the therapist is actually trained in this discipline.  If the therapist tells you that his or her approach is talk therapy or role playing, or if you’re told that your parenting actions have caused OCD in your child, walk away.  You need a therapist who can assess all of your child’s symptoms (not just the most obvious compulsions) and determine if your child does indeed have OCD and if so, if there are other disorders also present that will be treated.

Here are some questions to ask a prospective therapist:

  • Do you have a background in child and family therapy?
  • Are you trained to use Cognitive Behavior Therapy, including Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, to treat OCD?
  • Where did you obtain your training? (You’re looking for them to tell you about an established training program in cognitive behavior therapy.)
  • How many children (or teens) with OCD have you successfully treated?
  • Will you conduct therapy sessions (if necessary) by telephone or come to the home or school to observe the OCD in its usual setting?
  • Are you willing to work with other professionals such as the primary care physician, school counselor or social worker to ensure a coordinated approach to treatment?
  • How do you involve the family in the treatment of OCD?  (You want a therapist who will teach parents how to monitor and support the homework assignments given to the child or teen.)
  • Are you licensed to practice in this state?  (Beware of unlicensed therapists.)
  • What techniques do you use to treat this specific form of OCD? (You’re looking for responses that include CBT and ERP therapy.)

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
  • Suggests your child will need years of therapy. CBT and ERP therapy is not intended to go on indefinitely

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 national Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.  You can view therapist listings on their web site.

Contact OCD Chicago about Chicago-area therapy options

View therapist listings outside the Chicago area provided by the national Obsessive Compulsive Foundation

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