Treatment is available for adults with OCD, anxiety, and related disorders. Sessions are generally 50 or 80 minutes in duration, depending on client need and symptom severity. This includes a thorough evaluation of symptoms and the development of a treatment plan over the first 1-3 sessions.
Empirically-supported methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are used to help clients reduce their symptoms and reach goals. Assessments are given throughout to measure progress.
Therapy For Children & Families
The family environment is an important factor in children's behaviors and emotions. Therefore when kids are in treatment, parents are expected to be active participants. The nature of this participation depends on a number of factors, including the age of the child, the severity of symptoms, and the extent to which parents are involved with the child's symptoms.
For example, for very young children, having a parent in most or all of the sessions is helpful. For kids with separation anxiety, the goal is to foster increased comfort with distance from loved ones. Therefore, parents may be asked to gradually attend less and less over time. For teenagers, privacy and autonomy are increasingly important. Thus, parents may be minimally involved but given updates on how best to support positive growth at home.
Every individual who receives treatment at the NOATC will go home with between-session assignments. It is often helpful for parents to be aware of homework assignments so that they can monitor and increase accountability. Another area of import to anxiety and OCD is family accommodation. This refers to a set of behaviors that family members engage in that foster avoidance or directly engage with children's rituals. For example, allowing a child to take a "mental health day" off from school when the child is anxious about attending school may initially seem helpful but actually serves to strengthen anxiety and avoidance in the future. Additionally, catering to children's symptoms (e.g., opening doors for him/her, speaking for him/her at restaurants, allowing only "safe" foods) can undermine treatment. Therefore, family accommodation will be assessed and addressed for all pediatric clients.
Anxiety, OCD, and OC-spectrum disorders affect more than just the individual with the diagnosis. They can cause stress and strain in relationships, and having a therapist who understands these concerns can be helpful. We provide couples counseling for those experiencing relationship difficulties that are exacerbated by anxiety and OCD. Examples of goals may include how best to support a partner without unintentionally supporting their symptoms and increasing intimacy.
We offer a rotation of groups for individuals with OCD, anxiety, and OC-spectrum disorders, such as skin picking and hair pulling (trichotillomania). Participants can learn strategies and get support from peers. Multi-week groups for children, teens, and adults are available about once per year and address topics such as maintaining treatment progress, disclosure about OCD/anxiety to loved ones, managing symptoms at school/work, and self-advocacy. For more information, see our current and possible group offerings below.
Below you can read more about our preferred treatment methods. While we integrate elements of other modalities as needed, below are some of the more common interventions we use with clients. We use an evidence-based approach to therapy at the NOATC, which means that our methods have support from research. This list is by no means exhaustive but does give a good sense of our general approach.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on how one’s thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors affect mental health. CBT posits that our maladaptive or unrealistic views of ourselves, the world, and relationships often support our experience of negative emotions like anxiety and sadness. Likewise, our behavioral choices often serve to increase these negative feelings and thoughts. CBT therapists focus on present symptoms to help individuals alter their thoughts and behaviors, thereby improving their emotional states. For more information about CBT, click here.
Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and response prevention (also known as ERP) is a technique used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In ERP, the client and therapist work together to develop a hierarchy of feared situations. Then, therapists gradually and systematically help individuals to confront anxiety-provoking situations while preventing them from carrying out rituals to reduce the resulting anxiety. Over time, the anxiety response is reduced and symptoms decrease. ERP has demonstrated effectiveness in multiple studies and is generally considered to be the first-line treatment for OCD. For more information about ERP, visit this link.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (also known as ACT) is an intervention based on six core therapeutic processes: acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, self as context, values, and committed action. ACT combines acceptance and mindfulness approaches with commitment and behavioral change approaches to promote psychological flexibility in clients. With ACT, individuals are encouraged to change their relationship with difficult emotions and to allow for their behaviors to be guided by core values. ACT has an evidence base for use with anxiety, OCD and related disorders. For more information about ACT, visit this link.
Mindfulness is the practice of attending to the present moment with a non-judgmental stance. It is a component of Zen Buddhism, and research has shown that mindfulness can serve as an effective tool in reducing anxiety symptoms. With anxiety and OCD, we often place too much value on our thoughts and treat them as if they are reality. Paradoxically, learning to accept unwanted thoughts, even the most distressing intrusive ones, can help to reduce their impact on our lives.
Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT)
The Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (also known as CBIT or "see-bit") is a treatment for individuals with Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders. This treatment helps individuals with tics increase their awareness of pre-tic sensations, implement behaviors that are incompatible with tics, and make behavioral changes to manage tic frequency and severity. CBIT is the only non-medication treatment with proven efficacy for individuals with tics. For more information about CBIT, visit this website.
Brentwood Location: 155 Franklin Rd, suite 135 Brentwood, TN 37027 Phone: (615) 412-1155
Mt. Juliet Location: 547 N Mt Juliet Rd, suite 150 Mt Juliet, TN 37122 Phone: (615) 455-5594