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TitleObsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Ultimate Teen Guide (It Happened to Me (the Ultimate Teen Guide))
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Page 2

It Happened to Me

Series Editor: Arlene Hirschfelder

Books in the It Happened to Me series are designed for inquis-
itive teens digging for answers about certain illnesses, social
issues, or lifestyle interests. Whether you are deep into your
teen years or just entering them, these books are gold mines of
up-to-date information, riveting teen views, and great visuals
to help you figure out stuff. Besides special boxes highlighting
singular facts, each book is enhanced with the latest reading
lists, Web sites, and an index. Perfect for browsing, these
books contain loads of expert information by acclaimed writ-
ers to help parents, guardians, and librarians understand teen
illness, tough situations, and lifestyle choices.

1. Epilepsy: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Kathlyn Gay and
Sean McGarrahan, 2002.

2. Stress Relief: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Mark Powell,

3. Learning Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Penny
Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle, 2003.

4. Making Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide,
by L. Kris Gowen, 2003.

5. Asthma: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Penny Hutchins
Paquette, 2003.

6. Cultural Diversity—Conflicts and Challenges: The
Ultimate Teen Guide, by Kathlyn Gay, 2003.

7. Diabetes: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Katherine J.
Moran, 2004.

8. When Will I Stop Hurting? Teens, Loss, and Grief: The
Ultimate Teen Guide to Dealing with Grief, by Ed Myers,

9. Volunteering: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Kathlyn Gay,

10. Organ Transplants—A Survival Guide for the Entire
Family: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Tina P. Schwartz,

Page 96

do not live close to an appropriate therapist. If that’s the case
for you, by having phone conversations, you can still “meet”
regularly with your therapist. The main benefit is that you can
have your therapist “there with you” as you complete your
therapy homework, whether it’s at your home or at your
work. Many people have obsessions and compulsions that
occur only in certain environments that can’t be simulated at
their therapist’s office.


Getting Help from Mental Health Professionals

Ainsley, age fifteen

My first ever meeting with an OCD therapist occurred in the year
of 2006 when I was about fourteen. I remember when the doctor
walked through the door to the waiting room and called my name.
It was then that I looked around the waiting room, hoping that
there might just be another patient with my same name that the
appointment was meant for.

There wasn’t.
I began to follow her back into her little therapy room.

Therapists’ offices, as I’ve learned, are either extremely well lit
or as dim as my grandmother’s house. Dim meaning all the lights
are turned off, but for a few porcelain lamps strategically placed
about the room with an orangey-peachy lampshade giving off an
eerily warm glow. Hers had a large window, and the lights were all
on. She was a well-lit therapist.

She began asking the typical questions. I’d met with plenty
other therapists before, just not for the purpose of OCD
medication. And so I answered her questions. Though something
alarmed me. I was completely calm and I was having . . . could it
be . . . fun? Yes. I was actually enjoying answering these
questions and telling her every little thing about my life. Here
she was, just nodding along and taking notes. I was a goddess!
Whatever I said was simply written down and given a nod of
approval. I was tempted to let myself get a bit carried away.
“Well let’s see, Doctor Whatsyourface . . . I’ve been
experimented upon by aliens twelve times since last June, I am
so tough that I literally eat nails for breakfast, and I’m the spawn
of Satan.”

But I didn’t. I told the truth, like a good little girl, and
answered her questions. She put me on medicine, of which [kind]
I can’t remember, and that was that.

Page 97

Maybe your therapist is having you work on performing
your ritual only once instead of over and over. This will
naturally cause you anxiety. But if you have your therapist on
the phone, he or she can talk you through those first fifteen
minutes when you want to give in to your OCD. You can also
report to the therapist your level of anxiety as you work
through the situation.

This is also helpful because phone ERP can be done before
or after regular office hours. You may also be able to have your
appointment before school or work, when your OCD may be
flaring up.

Phone ERP may be less expensive than in-person
appointments for two reasons: You are not at the office, where
the therapist has to cover the costs of a receptionist and
building utilities in his or her fees, and the phone call is usually
shorter than a full therapy session would be.

Usually phone ERP is a scheduled appointment during
which you perform your ERP homework while being coached
by your therapist. Sometimes your therapist will allow you to
call when you are having a meltdown so that he or she can try
to walk you through conquering it. You should remember,
however, that this is not always an option because your
therapist may have appointments with other patients.

Before you begin phone ERP, you may need to attend a few
regular office visits to get to know your therapist. The therapist
might want to see your house so that he or she can better
envision your situation. Phone ERP is more effective with
particular types of OCD than with others. Your therapist can
explain which types you have that might apply to phone ERP.
In addition, some forms of OCD are not at all conducive to
phone ERP—for instance, it is not safe to be performing ERP
on your cell phone while driving, so it would not work if your
OCD occurs when you drive.1

If you would like to try phone ERP, you will want to find out
whether insurance covers it. The therapist may charge you only
a partial fee instead of a fee for a full session, but it is something
you want to look into before you begin.


Chapter 8

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