OCD in Adults

Parent Q&A

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  • OCD in younger adult - help!

    (10 replies)

    My mid-20s niece suffers from OCD, as well as depression and anxiety. She sees a therapist online once a week and takes medication for depression, but she occasionally has flare ups and is in a difficult state right now. The OCD recommendations on BPN for adults are all pretty old, so hoping someone here has more recent recommendations for a therapist with lots of experience with OCD (and also depression and anxiety) and within easy driving distance from Berkeley or BART accessible. I read about Rogers Behavioral Health in Walnut Creek. Does anyone have reviews of therapists there? Does anyone who suffers from OCD have advice about what kind(s) of therapy have helped you? She is not phobic about germs. It's more about obsessively thinking about something (topics vary)  with some compulsion in response (like skin-picking), but it's more in her head than anything. She recently moved to the area and does not have a friend network yet but has a new job with colleagues that she likes (and does a good job) and new housemates who seem nice. She has some social anxiety and can be socially awkward but really pushes through it. She's incredibly kind and empathetic, and it breaks my heart to see her hurting. Thanks for your help!

    My OCD is the exact same and I didn't even know I had it for the longest time because mine does not manifest as germs and handwashing. I saw Mark Balabanis who is quite expensive but AMAZING. He helped me so much using CBT. I cannot recommend him enough. I saw him a few years ago and he was right above Market Hall in Rockridge - easily accessible by BART. (510) 457-6601 I saw many therapists in an attempt o get my anxiety under control and it wasn't until I saw Mark that I was properly diagnosed and treated. OCD will never be cured, but he helped make it totally manageable. Kaiser was completely useless. 


    My daughter went to Rogers when she was around 20. This is mostly all day thing, so if she has a job it might not be the right time. I highly encourage her to hook up with support at the international OCD foundation. There is a bay area chapter; and the national chapter is having an online conference in October https://iocdf.org/programs/conferences/

    The gold standard for OCD is a therapy called ERP and just any therapist doesn’t usually know how to do it. You can look up specialists on the IOCDF website as well. 

    If your niece is comfortable with remote therapy sessions, she should check out NOCD Therapy. The therapists are all trained in ERP. They’ve been very helpful with a family member’s OCD, and they accept many health insurance plans.



    We found the same for my young adult daughter, that you need an OCD therapist, not a general talk therapist and you need to really look for them. There's a young adult program through the Gateway institute that meets on Thursdays after work virtually and in-person www.GatewayOCD.com

    Also, here are 2 books I got a lot from reading, " When a Family Member Has OCD by Jon Hershfield and The Family Guide to Getting Over OCD by Jonathan S. Abramowitz"

    Good luck


    I would check out "Anxiety Solutions" https://www.effectivetherapysolutions.com/ The don't have an office in CA, but they have some therapists that have licenses and can practice in CA.

    My daughter, who sought treatment for ADHD and Bi-polar while in college, later when she was home I started suspecting her biggest issue was OCD. While we live in CA, she attends Univ or Reno. She started seeing Tyler at Anxiety Solutions, who works with her on ERP (exposure and response prevention) via Tele Health. I have spoken with, and feel he is excellent, and I am seeing a lot of improvement in her.

    The San Francisco Bay Rea Center For Cognitive Therapy is very good. They’re in Rockridge. They’re not cheap. They have specialists in OCD, and those would primarily do ERP therapy. You’d have to talk with them to find a therapist within their group who can help her with both the OCD and the anxiety/depression, although OCD is a subset of anxiety disorders. Hope that helps. She sounds like a lovely person.  

    My young teen daughter has been seeing Ilyana Romanovsky for OCD. I'm pretty sure she sees both adults and kids. She ain't cheap, but our situation has improved by leaps and bounds. We've only ever used zoom appointments, but I believe she does do in person appointments and is located in Berkeley near the Oakland border. http://berkeleymentalhealth.com/

    Thank you all for the recommendations. Do any of you know if the providers specialize in working with kids with Autism/ASD?

    You need to contact Dani Svingos, LCSW! She's in downtown Berkeley now and she's a legend in the Fusion community. She's been practicing since 1997 and she's a neurodivergence expert and her whole practice is filled with tweens, teens and young adults (and some older adults I think) who got early or later dx's of ASD, ADHD. She's brilliant at both the therapy piece as well as the behavioral coaching pieces. I don't know where we'd be if we hadn't lined up our kiddo with her.


    Sorry to hear that your daughter and your family are struggling. We found help at the Gateway Institute. We're also in a great family support group through Gateway So Cal (even though we live here). You need to educate yourself as well. There are OCD groups through Nami and we've read some good books, "When a family member has OCD by Hershfield and the ACT workbook for OCD.   It's OCD awareness week and you'll find some good resources here https://madmimi.com/p/d79ea41

    As far as friends, hopefully having housemates and a job will help her get to  the next step.

    Best wishes.

  • 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! 

    My child was suffering with OCD symptoms years ago. A combination of an SSRI and CBT helped her a lot. I hope he gets some relief. 

    I wanted to suggest that if the son is developing OCD by excessive hand
    washing because he is concerned with "germs' it might be a good idea to
    share with him the 'scientific fact' that bacteria comprises a large part of
    our natural world and that we need not be fearful of the fact that bacteria
    are what allows us to be alive.
    I would say that he needs to be given space to learn more about how we live
    in balance with nature there is nothing to fear.  That bacteria have the same
    life force as all living things.  Life force is life force. Perhaps looking for a native elder who also has a western education in science who is very calm and wise to explain it to him and help him internalize peace with the living world. 

  • 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.