Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding The Right Kind Of Help

One thing I have heard repeatedly is the difficulty that patients have in finding qualified therapists to treat their anxiety disorders. I am always surprised at how many therapists are not only unqualified to properly treat anxiety, but often, many of them don't even have a basic understanding of the true nature of anxiety. In the Fall of 2009, when I finally decided to deal with my OCD, I was determined to find the right treatment. I was not interested in wasting my money, time, and effort on something less than optimal. I knew I needed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), as it is currently regarded as the best treatment for anxiety issues. I also knew that Boston was the center for a lot of cutting edge OCD treatment. I called a Boston teaching hospital and got connected with a fabulous psychologist, who taught me how to "be my own therapist." I am doing much better overall. I am not cured, but because I have the tools I need to survive, I am able to guide myself through most of my difficulties now. Joy has returned to my life. I want it to return to your life too, if it's being eaten up by anxiety.

One of the best ways to fight anxiety is to do it with great therapeutic help. If you are looking for a psychologist, I highly recommend starting the search for a doctor by calling any teaching hospital or university in your area. Even if the closest of these organizations is not in your immediate area, they may be able to refer you to someone that is closer to you. I also know that some progressive doctors are now starting to use Skype for treatment. What a great way to get top notch treatment without having to leave your house!

The reason I recommend starting with universities and teaching hospitals, is that more than likely these psychologists will be trained in the proper usage of CBT/ERP. I've also listed several different treatment center links below. I cannot vouch for the quality of the care of all of these centers. Some of them I do know are excellent. Some of them I've never heard of before, but thought I would post them here anyway. They are not listed in any particular order. Note: To my international readers - if you look on the side bar there is a link to the OCD Center of LA - they have a page full of international OCD links. I hope you can find help there.

Again, even if these centers are not in your area, they may direct you to someone who is. Keep calling. Don't give up. You are worth the effort. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. I'd be glad to at least try. God bless!

McLean Hospital OCD Institute, Belmont, Massachusetts
Bio Behavioral Institute, Great Neck, New York
Houston OCD Program, Houston, Texas
Rogers Memorial Hospital OCD Center, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
The Gateway Institute, Costa Mesa, California
The Anxiety & Agoraphobia Treatment Center, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
NeuroBehavioral Institute, Weston, Florida
Stress and Anxiety Services of New Jersey, East Brunswick, New Jersey
Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center, Durham & Chapel Hill, North Carolina
OCD Resource Center of Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In addition, the OCD Foundation has links to therapists interested in treating OCD. Furthermore, the OCD Foundation has links to the state affiliates of the OCD Foundation. Each of those state affiliates may also be a place to contact for names of good local therapists.

International OCD Foundation

UPDATE: I just visited the International OCD Foundation's website and found a page that had a list of global partners. I thought I would put this link for my international friends.

SECOND UPDATE: I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but in the sidebar, under "Online Resources," I have links to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Both of those organizations have lists of therapists as well.

THIRD UPDATE: FYI - From what I can tell, it looks like the Anxiety Disorders Association of America has changed its name to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. You can find a link to them under "Online Resources" to the right.


  1. Thanks Sunny.
    When you are physically and mentally drained from OCD or any mental illness I imagine, it is so hard to advocate for yourself.I wish I had the benefit of blogs like yours years ago, what a difference it would have made and I think you are bound to help people by posting your experiences and the resources available.
    I am interested in contacting the Hoffman Estates in Ill. hospital, it is not close to me but may be worth a 3 hour drive for a visit or two if I get in a bad spot. I go through good periods with my OCD (like now) and then can hit a real bad spot and I don't have access anywhere near me with a OCD specialist.

    1. Hi Krystal Lynn. I sure do hope this blog helps others. I too wish there had been blogs years ago. Maybe there were, but I just never knew about them.

      You are so right - when your world is overwhelmed by anxiety, it can be very difficult to do anything, never mind conduct a search for a properly trained therapist. I'm hoping this list will at least give people some place to start.

      Three hours is a long way to drive, but yep, I agree, if I'm in a really bad cycle with my OCD, three hours doesn't seem so far away anymore.

      Thanks for your sweet comments.

  2. Sunny, This is such a helpful post, with good advice and references. I feel blessed that I have a good therapist and a good psychiatrist just 45 minutes from my house. I still want to check out some of these links and find out more of what's out there. I appreciate you providing such information!

    1. You are so very welcome, Tina! I also felt blessed that I had an expert about an hour and a half away from my house! I hear you on that one. The thing is, this list is only a partial list. I didn't include everything I found. I actually did kind of a minimal search to be honest with you. I looked at the OCD Foundation's conference brochure from last year (they had advertisements in it) and I knew of a few others off of the top of my head. There are probably lots more across the U.S. The point I'm trying to make is that there is help out there. Good help. Of course, paying for it is another story . . .

      I'm glad you found this helpful, and thanks for your encouragement!

    2. Paying for it is indeed another story. I may write about that for Friday.

  3. Excellent post! I feel so blessed to have gotten an excellent therapist on my second try. I don't know what I would do without him teaching me all these things to help myself.

    1. Yep, second try (13 years later) was the winner for me too! I agree, I can't imagine where I would be now if God had not blessed me with my awesome psychologist.

  4. This is a fantastic post, indeed. My first counselor (in a bigger city) was great and did some CBT and DBT with me, but I feel like I really need to incorporate ERP along with it. In the small town where we are now, that's not really an option except for skype - have been hesitant about that but I'd really like to get some reviews on it.
    Thanks for your sweet comment! We're looking forward to being married 21 years and beyond one day. :) And thanks for maintaining such a helpful blog!

    1. You're very kind, thank you! I really do feel for people who live in smaller towns. It gets much harder to get good help. I'm sure there are some difficulties with Skype sessions, and I would be a bit anxious about it too. But it's an option for people who have no other choice. I agree with you, ERP is key. The other therapies are great and helpful too, but I personally feel like they need to be built around ERP. Just my not so humble opinion! ha ha

  5. What a helpful post that will be of use to so many people. It IS amazing how many therapists out there don't even know what the right therapy is for OCD....we ran in to that problem when seeking help for our son. You need to be your own advocate and you've just made that so much easier for a lot of people. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Janet, you're very sweet. Your son was very lucky indeed to have you advocating for him. That's also the great thing about the OCD community. Hopefully we can all advocate for each other a little bit.

  6. LOVE this post, Sunny. These suggestions, plus your comments on my latest blog posts, have really helped me in giving me a starting point to start looking for outside help again. Thank you; I feel much more hopeful!

    1. Oh Jean you just made my week! I'm glad you feel hopeful; you have every reason to!