What to Do If Your School Doesn’t Offer Treatment for OCD

Unfortunately, a number of therapists aren’t well-educated about OCD, don’t know about CBT, and/or don’t have specialized training in treating the disorder.  Although psychiatrists may be able to prescribe medication for OCD, they rarely do CBT.  So if your counseling center can’t help, try the student health center.  Or if your school has a psychology or behavioral health department, find out if CBT is done by graduate students (they will be supervised by faculty members).

Don’t settle for traditional “talk therapy.”  While it can help with issues related to the OCD, such as relationship or family problems, talk therapy is not effective for treating OCD.  It’s important that you educate yourself about OCD so you get the right treatment.

If your student health center cannot provide appropriate treatment, look for a therapist in private practice near your school who is experienced in using CBT for OCD.  Your student health center may have a listing of local providers.  Beyond OCD can help you find a treatment provider.  Call us at 773-661-9530 or send an email to info@beyondocd.org.  You can also request an information packet online.

I Can’t Find a CBT Therapist Near School. What Should I Do?

Don’t give up!  If OCD is interfering with your life, it may be worth the time and effort to travel to a location where you can receive appropriate treatment.  Larger cities frequently provide a wide range of services through hospitals, mental health centers, and universities/medical schools with departments of psychology or psychiatry.

While you’re looking for a therapist, learn about OCD and pay attention to your own symptoms (this information will be helpful when you meet with a therapist):

  • Read up on OCD, starting with the articles for college students on this web site. To learn more, download a free copy of Relief from OCD: A Guide for People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and read at least one of the books listed on page 31.
  • Keep track of your symptoms.  Note the time, place, and intensity of any obsessions and compulsions, what triggers them, and what happens after an OCD episode.  If you absolutely cannot find a therapist in person, consider accessing CBT via telephone or webcam (e.g., Skype) sessions, computer programs (e.g., OCD Challenge), or smart phone apps. Remember that CBT for OCD must include exposure and response prevention!

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