Stephanie Schacher, Psy.D. Providing assessment and psychotherapy services in Westport and Milford, CT
While the term "OCD" is used loosely by most to describe uptight, hyper-organized, rigid or perfectionistic people, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can cause quite a lot of distress in people who suffer from it. It is defined by its obsessive, intrusive thoughts, compensatory compulsions or behaviors, and resultant temporary relief of anxiety. People who engage in repetitive thoughts and routines often do not feel in control of their minds, and can feel like they are "going crazy". OCD can be very disruptive in an individual's life and create strain in family life as family members try to adapt to the individual's rituals. Often, family can feel just as controlled by the anxiety-driven behaviors as the individual suffering from the disorder does. Family members often fall into the trap of enabling ritualistic behaviors or thoughts in a well-meaning effort to help the affected party.
OCD can respond well to open exploration of fears, and cognitive behavioral techniques such as exposure therapy and gradual desensitization. Sometimes, medication as an adjunct to therapy is needed.
I will help individuals understand their compulsive thoughts and behaviors, see what fears underlie these behaviors, and work on CBT techniques including exposure exercises to decrease or even eradicate symptoms. I will help family of affected individuals learn which helping behaviors truly are helpful and which are well-intentioned but misguided.