I recently started seeing a private therapist after quite a few years of going to a community treatment center. I decided to see a private therapist because the community therapists weren’t well versed in treating OCD. I have debilitating OCD and when I opened up to my new therapist about it, it seemed like she was at a loss for words because she has never treated anyone with the severity that I have (in terms of my OCD). She actually mentioned an inpatient facility to me. I don’t have an interest in going there because I’m a full-time college student. I’m a little concerned that I’m not going to receive adequate treatment from her (if she is not used to treating severe OCD). The problem is, there are not many treatment providers where I live that do treat debilitating OCD. How do I go about explaining to her in a rational manner that there are certain things that I really need help on. For example, my OCD manifests itself in my breathing. I have to hold my breath alot so I don’t get sick (sometimes I pass out because of it). I want to be able to tell her things without her telling me my case is too difficult to treat. Is there a way I can go about telling her this without her being at a loss for words? Thanks!
A. I believe that I understand your predicament: you do not want to go to an inpatient facility, which may be necessary, and currently are seeing a therapist who has little experience treating OCD. Your specific question, as I understand it, is how you can be honest with your therapist about the OCD symptoms without effectively frightening her with the severity of your condition.
The answer is that you can’t. The reason is because it would essentially mean that you would have to lie to her. If you cannot be honest with your therapist then it will be very difficult for her to effectively help you.
Should you choose to continue working with a therapist who does not feel comfortable treating your condition then you must accept the possible outcome: receiving ineffective treatment and your condition may worsen. I would advise choosing the best possible treatment provider even if it is an inconvenience. This is especially important because you have a debilitating form of OCD. Not only is it debilitating, it is dangerous. Fainting poses multiple health risks.
I would suggest discussing this matter more thoroughly with your therapist. Be honest with her about your concerns. Ask her if she could help you research other types of treatments or programs that may not require attending an inpatient facility. Perhaps the inpatient facility she suggested has an outpatient intensive treatment program. If not, there may be other programs or treatments they could recommend to you.
I hope you are able to find the treatment that you need. Thanks for writing. Please take care and I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Aug 2010
Randle, K. (2010). Debilitating OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/02/debilitating-ocd/