This is the blog of India Haylor, writing on behalf of OCD First Aid.  OCD First Aid is a treatment centre based in London which offers highly effective treatment programmes for OCD. Uniquely, the treatment is designed by clinicians with OCD to provide tangible, lasting relief and is based upon cognitive behavioural and third generation techniques. OCD First Aid has 14 years of experience as specialists in treating OCD, supporting families and carers and raising awareness.

Questions to ask yourself before starting psychotherapy for OCD

Any mental health therapy isn’t easy. It is never an upwards straight line. It is a tough, often frustrating process that needs regular commitment for the long-term. In addition to a time investment, it may well involve a financial investment too. Having said that, depending on how hard and consistently you work, it will give you a life back and relief for those who love you. It will also have benefits for your entire life (not just OCD) - your physical health, your social life, your occupation or studies and it is chemical free. So before beginning on the biggest journey you will ever make, it important to ask yourself some key questions:

  1. Do you realise that you alone are responsible for your mental health? Others can support and guide but ultimately you decide the outcome. No other party can ‘make’ you change. You can only change yourself.
  2. Are you aware that this will be a rewarding but often tough process with lots of discomfort?
  3. Are you in this for the long term?
  4. Who are you doing this for? If the answer is anyone other than ‘me’, you are going to face additional difficulties.
  5. Are you able to commit the necessary time on homework outside therapy, initially every day? OCD therapy can be incorporated in to daily life but sticking to this goal is not always easy.
  6. Do you realise what you stand to gain if you manage your OCD?
  7. Do you realise what you stand to lose if you don’t manage your OCD?
  8. Do you understand what is meant by your own penalty and reward system? If not, this can be worked on.
  9. If you decide not to work on your OCD, what are your contingency plans for your future or those of any dependants?
  10. Do you have any life goals and dreams, e.g., travel, qualifications, marriage, children, etc.? If the answer is no, then you may well struggle at times.
  11. Are the people around you prepared to change and set boundaries?
  12. Are you prepared to allow the people around you to change and set boundaries? And not expect them to rescue you or collude.
  13. If you are opting for private treatment, are you prepared for the investment over time?
  14. Who is your support network? Start thinking about who you can rely on and don’t be scared to reach out for support.
  15. Finally, you can do it! After all, there isn’t anything more important you will do for yourself!

OCD's favourite tools

What makes OCD unique (and not in a good way)?