OCD in Adults

Parent Q&A

My young adult son is developing OCD Jul 2, 2018 (5 responses below)
Exposure and Response therapy for OCD for young adult? Apr 3, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • My young adult son is developing OCD

    (5 replies)

    Somehow his science knowledge, as a biology major (and resulting work in the lab) has made him germophobic. He’s washing his hands much too much and it is impacting his social life — he is very uncomfortable shaking hands, he wipes down doorknobs, etc.

    While he is home from college, I’d like to get him some immediate help. Can anyone recommend a therapist (and psychiatrist would be even better, if a prescription was advised) who specializes in OCD. Or is that a job for Cognative Behavioral Therapy?

    I know no one in this world, and would greatly appreciate some leads. Thanks!

    Sorry to hear about your son. With OCD, the fears are irrational and the attempt to offset them leads to compulsions that only serve to reinforce the obsession. Your son’s study of science would normally serve to quell fears of contamination—i.e. if contamination were so prevalent and lethal, we couldn’t survive most germs. Yes, it sounds as if he needs CBT because he clearly has anxiety if not OCD (which requires a specific form of CBT know as ERP—exposure and response prevention therapy). I recommend you check out the International OCD Foundation website that lists psychologists and therapists by city. My son has OCD and he’s been to many Bay Area therapists and psychiatrists. I personally recommend Mark Balabanis PhD (Oakland) for therapy and Eric Arnold MD (Berkeley) for medication. 

    My much younger son saw Emily Berner for OCD. She was great with him for CBT, and I know she works a lot with teens/college students: http://sfbacct.com/emily-berner/

    Good luck. I know how scary this is as a parent.

    I’m so sorry to hear you and he are going through this. It can be terrifying to see your child go through this-it’s like they become an entirely different person. I highly recommend Dr. Amy Jenks at the Bay Area OCD and Anxiety Center in Orinda. She uses a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure-Response-Prevention. She worked wonders for my son who also had germ/handwashing compulsions. He was 9 when he went into therapy and was in remission a year later and has been symptom free ever since (he is now 12). Wishing you all the best! 

  • Hi all,

     We are looking for a competent CBT therapist trained in Exposure and Response therapy for OCD, for our older son, who is a sophomore at Cal.

    Any leads are much appreciated!


     I highly recommend Jonathan Barkin, Psy.D.  My daughter saw him a couple of years back.  He is located on College Avenue in Oakland and has expertise in treating OCD with CBT. 

    Hello, I can recommend Dr. Amy Jenks.  I believe her primary office is now in Orinda, but is easily accessible by BART.  Good luck!


    Please look on the iocdf website, they have a great database. 


    You can also ask the local affiliate 


Archived Q&A and Reviews


Seeking a therapist for OCD

Dec 2012

I am looking for a good therapist with experience treating OCD, but who does not use an exclusively Cognitive Behavioral approach, but is open to a more psychodynamic approach. Any recommendations anyone can give would be very much appreciated. anonymous

I highly recommend the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy. http://sfbacct.com/home I worked with a therapist there for OCD and within 3 months I was about 90% cured and have remained that way for about 15 years. I am so grateful for this treatment.


OCD therapist in Berkeley

August 2004

I am looking for a good psychaiatrist in the Berkeley area that can help me deal with OCD. I am suffering from recuring obsessive thoughts that I cannot get away from and cause me a great deal of anxiety and interfere with my work and personal life. Also, I have been taking Prozac for more than 10 years now.

I highly recommend Deborah Efron,LCSW. She is a superb Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with a great deal of experience in the treatment of OCD. Her office is in Berkeley on Solano Ave. She can be reached at 510-717-1415.