Many clients seek out behavioral therapy for OCD without being exactly sure what behavior therapy entails. As well, although people with OCD usually want to get better, some are unwilling or unable to make the necessary changes in behavior or tolerate the temporary increase in anxiety that are required for behavior therapy to work. As such, many people with OCD ask “Am I ready for behavioral therapy for OCD?”
Before engaging in behavior therapy such as exposure and response prevention therapy or ERP, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I willing to try facing the very things I fear most? Behavior therapy is about doing things differently and approaching those things which you usually avoid. Engaging in behavior therapy necessarily means that you will have to feel more anxiety before you can feel less anxiety.
- Will I be able to finance this on my own or will my insurance cover the costs?
- Am I willing to put in the time required to participate in weekly sessions for up to 20 weeks (or longer), for up to 90 minutes at a time?
- On top of going to a weekly session, I am willing to complete daily homework assignments in between sessions?
- Am I willing to keep doing exposures and behavioral experiments long after formal treatment has ended? (Remember, OCD is a chronic condition that is managed, not cured.)
- Are my family members ready to support me or even help out in exposure exercises completed at home?
In addition, it can be helpful to keep in mind that research shows that the people who have good results with behavior are those who are highly motivated to change and willing to try and put in the commitment required.
As well, if you decide to include behavior therapy as part of your overall treatment plan make sure you are comfortable with your therapist. If you feel something is preventing you from having a good working relationship with your therapist, don't be afraid to bring it up in therapy. A good therapist will be happy you have brought this to his or her attention and will try to work through these issues with you.
Finally, deciding to engage in behavioral therapy for OCD is a decision that should be made in consultation with your family doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist as part of your overall treatment plan.