On October 7, 2017, OCD Texas hosted a conference in Austin, Texas about living a meaningful life with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) to promote awareness and provide current information about OCD. OCD affects about 2.3% of people in the population, suggesting this disorder affects a significant part of the Texas community. This conference provided the opportunity for those struggling with OCD, their loved ones, and treating clinicians to share their experiences with one another.
The conference was kicked off with two community members describing their struggles and successes with OCD. One person discussed his experience with relationship OCD, describing how his intrusive thoughts affected his relationship and confidence in being close with his significant other. A mother shared her daughter’s journey with OCD, and she discussed an inspiring story in which her daughter grew to independently attend an out-of-state university.
Keynote speaker, Sara Casselberry, gave an inspiring talk about her path to overcome OCD. She discussed how her childhood trauma history eventually manifested through OCD symptoms. During parts of her treatment, Sara felt alone and believed no one else struggled with thoughts of harming others. She came to realize through individual and group therapy that other people experienced similar struggles as her, and through exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), the possibility for her to experience symptom relief.
Clinicians also shared current therapeutic strategies to address OCD. Ginny Fullerton, Ph.D. and Melissa Fasteau, Psy.D. discussed the what, why, and how to effectively use ERP therapy. They also addressed specific strategies to improve the efficacy of treatment. Christen Sistrunk, LPC discussed ways to incorporate acceptance and commitment therapy into ERP treatment. Nicholas Taylor, Ph.D. and Claire Palmer, LPC-I led an interactive demonstration to illustrate a new method of coping with intrusive thoughts.
The conference allowed for community members to participate in two panels open to Ask the Experts questions. The first expert panel focused on OCD therapy, and psychologists Diana Damer, Ph.D., Christine Leyva, Ph.D., and Samantha Bray, LCSW answered questions about OCD treatment.
A second expert panel focused on children with OCD. Psychologists Ivy Ruths, Ph.D., Janna Greeson, Ph.D., and Nicholas Taylor, Ph.D., discussed treatment for children and families supporting children and adolescents with OCD.
Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in Living Fully with OCD. OCD Texas is honored to have had the opportunity to provide current information about OCD treatment, inspiring talks by community members, and two expert panels to address pertinent questions. We hope to see you in 2018!