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Overview

Family therapy can bring insight into various behaviours that the families engage in, often unintentionally, that end up fuelling the person’s OCD symptoms. Even the most well-intentioned family members sometimes unknowingly impede the person’s treatment progress. For instance, research has found that family members either engage in antagonistic ways in dealing with the member with OCD, or in overly-accommodating ways. The former would include yelling or harshly criticizing the member with OCD for engaging in their compulsive rituals. The latter would include family members over-extending themselves to help the person with OCD feel more comfortable about rituals, which they can do by also following the ritual of washing hands frequently, for instance, or by buying them anti-bacterial wipes. Thus, family therapy allows the family members to learn newer ways of engaging with the person’s OCD rituals in a way that does not fuel them. In addition, since family members spend the most time with the person with OCD, a therapist’s inputs can be better applied to aid the person’s recovery when the family members are also made part of the recovery plan.
EXPERT TALKS

OCD Psychiatry: What is it and how can it help you?

PATIENTS RECOVERY STORIES

Living with OCD and Overcoming Them: Survivor Stories

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How effective is Family Therapy for OCD?

Family therapy is effective for OCD in reducing their own distress, providing daily support to the member with OCD, and thereby implementing strategies learnt in therapy to help reduce the distress for the member associated with their OCD.

What are the benefits of Family Therapy for OCD?

There are various benefits of family therapy for OCD such as –

  • Psycho-educates the family about OCD and its symptoms,
  • Helps family members learn the most beneficial way to respond,
  • Allows family members to serve as co-therapists who can help the member with OCD practice therapeutic exercises at home,
  • Strengthens relationships amongst members,
  • Reduces strain and stress in relationships and members’ personal lives,
  • May lead to identification of another family member needing treatment.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

The number of sessions required depends on the severity of the person’s OCD, the unique challenges that family members face, and how responsive the person with OCD is to treatment.