After I had been working at the Houston OCD Program less than a year I was traveling to an out-of-state conference to present about OCD treatment. I took an Uber from the airport to the hotel and the driver and I got talking about why I was in the city. When I talked about my OCD work the driver told me that she "used to have OCD". This was confusing to me, every textbook I had read had told me that OCD was chronic, meaning that people learned to manage it, but they could never get rid of it. But here was a grown woman, telling me that she had not had symptoms in decades, when she used to spend hours a day ritualizing as a teenager. How could this be?
I heard similar stories over time and it always struck me. In 2019 I was fortunate enough to receive training in the Bergen 4-Day Treatment, a treatment where some patients report having no OCD symptoms for years after treatment. I was seeing more and more people break free from their OCD. I took my training in the B4DT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and more and started treating my patients as if they were normal people who had been fooled into OCD instead of people who were broken and had no way out of OCD's traps.
Interestingly, when you give people the rational for treatment that they are broken and you treat them as such they believe it. This belief will impact the way they look at their thoughts and feelings, and impact how they engage in treatment. Who wants to do treatment and feel anxious forevere?? However, if you treat someone was if they are a normal person who has just been tricked; treat them like you believe in their ability to move on from OCD and live a "normal" and fulfilling life this will have a major effect as well! I will often tell people, if you had a bike that you rode to work every day and it got a flat tire would you call the bike broken infinitely? Would you just say "well this is my bike now and this is how I have to learn to ride it?". Or would you go to a professional, get it fixed, get some tools to fix it yourself if you were to have another tire issue and keep riding on your normal, fully functioning bicycle? Most people would agree that finding a problem, fixing the problem, and then moving on is the way to go!
So I will put my belief here for people to see, question, and debate: If you have OCD I do not think that you are broken or different. If you have OCD I do not think that you have to fight OCD for each day, though you should fight for other more important things! Instead, I think that you can learn to move on from your OCD and live a life on your terms and not OCD's terms. I think you can be free. Please reach out to me, or another qualified mental health professional to see how you can get your life back on your terms.