I had my first session with the psychologist today who will be leading me in cognitive behavioral therapy.
I won’t be doing exposure response and prevention therapy after all. Rather, the doctor will be providing what he referred to as the “third wave” of CBT. It’s the therapy Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz outlines in his book “Brain Lock.”
Let me say first of all that I felt comfortable with the doctor and believe we can work well together. He is a clinical psychologist who is very familiar with OCD. He has written about religiosity in OCD in particular.
He asked me a lot of questions, and we talked about what areas of OCD were affecting my life the most.
Just talking out loud about what I obsess about, what I worry about, and how I live my life was revealing to me.
I talked about the “what ifs” that I fear with writing, with cleaning, with checking. I talked about the avoidance and procrastination that I practice in order to avoid the anxiety that writing and cleaning stimulates in me. I also told him about my religious doubting.
He explained how we would work on a focused area that was causing me, on a scale of one to 10, about a six or seven anxiety level. (Based on one being no anxiety and 10 being the worst ever.)
Bringing that the level of anxiety down for that area would in turn help the other areas too.
He said it sounded like I had some social anxiety in addition to the OCD and generalized anxiety. That and the OCD have isolated me in a lot of ways.
At our next visit, in two weeks, we’ll prioritize what I aspects of OCD I want to work on the most. I already know it will be the writing and the cleaning.
The treatment usually runs from eight to 16 sessions. I like having an end in sight.
Meanwhile, my doctor suggested I read the first couple of chapters of Schwartz’s book. He said that when Schwartz came out with his book, it was rather radical because it wasn’t thought that the brain could be changed. That’s why he made his case in such a “long winded” manner, my doctor said. Now, his ideas don’t seem so radical.
I’m still getting my head around today’s session. I will write more specifically about things as time goes on.
I feel like I’m starting a worthwhile journey.