Why Support Groups Play a Vital Role in OCD Recovery
“The way OCD looks to outsiders is a far cry from what OCD really is. To outsiders, the disorder is what the press shows us—extreme cases of people who claim they have to do things that make no sense to themselves or others. But the truth is that when you have OCD, something is happening to you, you are not crazy, and there is something you can do about it.”
- Dr. Jonathan Grayson
Living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be an incredibly isolating experience. Many people who struggle with OCD will avoid sharing their symptoms with others due to a fear of judgment and stigmatization. Unfortunately, some sufferers will even avoid seeking treatment altogether. If this sounds familiar to you, it is important to remember that you are not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 1.2% of adults in the U.S. suffer from OCD. Because of the stigmatizing nature of the illness, support groups that promote self-compassion, acceptance and offer a safe space to interact with others who also struggle with OCD can play a vital role in the healing process.
Another benefit of OCD support groups is that you will gain a thorough understanding of what OCD is and how it is successfully treated, which is a key factor towards OCD remission. Through discussion, you may develop new skills, insights, and motivators for continuing treatment and navigating roadblocks. Group topics may vary; below is an example of what the topics of discussion look like in Find Your Shine’s OCD support group:
Myths about OCD and OCD Treatment
Behavioral versus Mental Compulsions
Tolerating and Embracing Uncertainty
Practicing Self-Compassion and Coping with OCD Shame/Guilt
What Separates You from Your OCD? What Are Your Values?
Motivation for Treatment/Discovering Your “Why”
Self-Validation versus Self-Reassurance
Inaccurate Portrayals of OCD in the Media
Familial/Cultural Themes of OCD
Relationships and OCD Accommodations
Treatment Success and Roadblocks
Lastly, support groups foster accountability. Find Your Shine’s OCD Support Group ends each meeting with setting individual goals for the week. A goal might be to notice your mental compulsions more, practice a skill learned from group, engage in an exposure exercise provided by your individual therapist, or to attend the next support group meeting. No goal is too small and every goal is important! At the beginning of each meeting, the group facilitators will encourage group members to share their progress towards their goals. Listening to other group members discuss their achievements and struggles from the previous week can feel comforting and motivating.
Normalization, validation, education, accountability, and motivation are only some of the many benefits of joining an OCD support group. It is important to note that support groups are not meant to replace individual therapy. However, seeing an individual therapist is not a requirement to join Find Your Shine’s OCD Support Group. If you have been hesitant to start therapy to address your OCD symptoms, our support group may be a good option to help build your confidence and openness towards pursuing individual therapy in the future. Alternatively, if you have completed OCD treatment, an OCD support group can be beneficial for maintaining relapse prevention.
Find Your Shine’s OCD Support Group is an open group led by facilitators trained in Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy, the gold standard treatment for OCD. We meet in-person every Tuesday at Find Your Shine Therapy in Tempe from 6-8pm. To learn more about what our support group has to offer, pricing, or to register for our next group meeting please reach out to Find Your Shine at (480) 815-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to meeting you and providing you with a safe space to share and feel supported.
For additional resources and/or to find an OCD support group in your area, visit iocdf.org.