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Logo: OCD Recovery Center

Home-Based "Recovery Buddy" System for OC Disorders

By Dr. Christian R. Komor
OCD Recovery Center

* NOTE: Keep things simple and straightforward. Speak clearly, calmly, caringly. Keep the situation as positive as possible. Use humor as much as possible without making fun of the person. Realize anxiety levels related to obsessions can be tremendously high. There should only be one "Recovery Buddy" otherwise confusion can result. Remember the keys to OC recovery success: Intensity, Saturation, Duration, Neutralization. Follow a pattern for working through the episode each time such as the 10 steps that follow:

  1. Event or situation occurs.

  2. Ask if the person would like assistance or support. If yes...

  3. Assist them in determining how much of what they are experiencing is real and how much is and obsession.

  4. Remind them this is a brain disorder and not "real" or their "fault".

  5. Ask them if they would like to challenge the obsession this time. This decision should be based on how much is already on the person's plate. (If they are highly stressed or coping with several other exposure situations already they may want to pass on this current challenge or wait until another time to confront with situation.)

  6. Ask how the person thinks they could best challenge the OC this time while staying in the 25-75 anxiety range. ("What would your counselor suggest?") Help them to figure out how to tone down or increase the anxiety level by modifying how they confront the OC (e.g. touching the normally avoided light switch with a Kleenex if bare hands would be a 90+ or with bare hands if using a tissue would be a 10-.)

  7. Ask the individual how they might normally neutralize or avoid the anxiety (e.g. saying a special prayer for safety) and then encourage them to avoid those activities.
  8. Remind the person to feel the anxiety flow through them while going on with the next set of normal activities of living.

  9. Remind the person to take their "fear temperature" every ten minutes once they start the exposure. Reassure them that the anxiety will go down.

  10. Avoid answering questions or requests for reassurance other than: (a) Confirming that this is OCD, (b) Confirming what "normal people" would do in this situation, (c) Reminding the person that the anxiety will go down if they stick with it, (d) For reassurance seeking remind them "You already know the answer".

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