OCD Help (CBT/ERP) ...and what to do in the meantime?

We are seeking immediate help for our ten year old who began exhibiting OCD at the end of November.  Handwashing/showers/not touching clothes/toys/bedroom/us.  We have seen psych and ruled out PANDAS but need a CBT/ERP therapist.  We are on wait lists but miserable in the meantime.  How do we not accommodate her rituals when we/she hasn't had counseling - don't have the tools to explain that we are being supportive by not accommodating.  We are reading the books but not connecting with her in terms of what is happening.  Further, she says she doesn't have a problem - how do we get her to the first appointment?  What support groups are there for parents?  Any advice appreciated.

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You definitely want to see a CBT/ERP therapist. ERP is the best treatment for OCD...... Hopefully you've contacted the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy (http://sfbacct.com/).... they're often full but can usually offer referrals.

My child with OCD has been treated by CBT/ERP therapist Ilyana Romanovsky. She's amazing and has helped our daughter immensely. She may not be taking new clients either, but also might have some referrals for you.

There is an online group for parents of kids with OCD that I've found helpful..... https://groups.io/g/OCD-POTAYA/topics

In terms of getting her to the first appointment, hopefully the therapist you end up working with can offer some advice. My daughter was very aware of how OCD was making her life miserable and open to going to therapy.

I wish you and your family well. While you're on the path to find a mental health reason and treatment for this, I think it's great that you looked into PANDAS. You might also want to try an IGenex test for lyme/bartonella as those infections could cause similar presentations. Check with the Bay Area Lyme Foundation or LymeLight for assistance with this if needed. Just to rule out the physical stuff. 

All the best

I’m a little OCD and it started to manifest when I was 13-14 or so with lots of hand washing. I never saw anyone for it so I’m not sure if what is true for me is also true for others but it really helped when I learned that too much cleanliness is linked to allergies. It reduced the germ fear a lot. Also, my OCD to this day is triggered by stress and I explain that to my family so when I seem really “difficult” with what level of tidiness I am demanding of them I ask them to please accommodate me because I have a big work project etc. so I would really ask you to manage your stress and anger and not add that to your daughter’s as it will only make things worse. Ask her what you can do to help support her and reduce her stress.  

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Ocd
Book by Dawn Huebner is a good explanation/workbook for kids.

There is also a Facebook SF Bay Area Parents of Kids with OCD (Kids of any age)

been there and glad you are getting help!

I’d check into any resources possibly through NAMI (National alliance on mental illness). They offer support groups for parents of children with mental illness.  (https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers)

it’s great you’ve ruled out PANDAS as at that age, that’s often a culprit. You don’t have to worry about convincing her something isn’t quite right about the behaviors - that’s for the therapist. You want to be careful with that as well so she doesn’t feel shame or it cause more anxiety which could lead to escalation of behaviors. Until you find someone, i suggest trying to focus on any possible underlying emotions and issues vs focusing on the behaviors. The behaviors are symptoms of something else.

have you checked with school to see if the school social worker or psychologist can assist in the mean time? I’d also look into support through your EAP if you or your spouse has one through work. They can often assist in finding therapists.

good luck!

Have you checked Roger's behavior health in Walnut Creek?
My child, who was diagnosed with severe OCD, was accepted to their program.
I can't say enough good things about it!
They accept some insurance, including Kaiser.
There are many resources online for both kids and parents. I like Peace Of Mind foundation and if you haven't already, check IOCDF.
Best of luck!! There is help and hope for your child and your family. Hugs


My daughter was diagnosed with OCD and we have gone through a few different treatments. She is now 10 years old and we have been seeing Emily Berner at the San Francisco Center For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the last few months. She is an MFT and it has been GREAT for all of us. Emily works with the family when the kid does not want to cooperate with counselor, and this has helped us a lot (though my daughter did end up working with Emily). My kid also insisted there was nothing wrong - there is so much shame around OCD. It is painful for them to admit what is going on because it is so embarrassing.

BTW there is a great movie about OCD which I recommend that you show to your daughter at some point - it is called Unstuck, and features kids with OCD, showing their perspective. 

 Sounds like you need to get into therapy as soon as possible so that you can get the support you need and start to lay the groundwork for your work with your child whether or not she chooses to do therapy. I highly recommend Emily. It has also been super helpful to talk to other parents of kids with OCD (I have found two). If you find a support group I would love to join it! I am still scouting around to see if I can find a support group for my daughter so that she does not feel so alone with OCD. 

Hang in there. Remember that the more anxious you are about it, the more anxious she will get, which leads to worsening of OCD symptoms. I am positive that the therapy my husband and I have participated in to deal with my daughter's OCD has had as much of a positive effect on her condition as the therapy that SHE has participated in.

Our son (who has different issues) has seen Tsveta Laleva at this practice: http://www.lindseyantin.com

They don't take insurance, but work w/ a lot of kids - they just posted something about the number of kids they see w OCD. I highly recommend!

Hi Noelle, The most active group recently was a yahoo group that I belonged to, but yahoo disbanded groups, so it looks like it's migrated to https://groups.io/g/SFOCD - I would definitely join there.  In addition, the general (worldwide) group on facebook that I've found helpful is Support group for parents of Kids with OCD - there's a lot to wade through, but a lot of bay area parents are on there. The annual OCD conference this year is in Seattle and I'd definitely recc. attending - it's the thing that got us pointed in the right direction.   My son attended PHP in Rogers summer of 2018 and then followed up with Amy Jenks in Orinda for several more months.  It saved his life.  I think the world of both.  We've been battling OCD since elementary school (he's 16 now), and it's just - gone.  We all know it could come back, but he has the tools and knows he can fight it if it does.  We LOVED Amy Jenks in Orinda.  My son was a difficult case, and she just kept pivoting and trying new things until she found the ways that worked for him - she's amazingly gifted.  If you contact her and she's full, she also had a list of other providers - I know that http://sfbacct.com/ is also very well-regarded - I've heard Dr. Barkin, Tomkins, and Emily Berner speak.  Whatever you do, I'd go for one of these super-specialists - we wasted way too many years with people who said they treated OCD and did ERP but it was nothing compared to real ERP.  If they're full, keep trying - spots open up all the time.  We had to be flexible with days and times, but it was worth it.