We specialize in treating
bipolar, anxiety and
trauma and abuse,
This July, we are launching our new OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) IOP lead by Clinical Director, Sam Lample! Sam is one of the best therapists around in treating OCD and we are so excited to offer this unique opportunity to kids and families. So with that, I thought I would turn the newsletter over to him to give you more information about this important topic and how Doorways' IOP could be helpful for adolescents you work with or know.
Jan Hamilton, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Kids are experiencing more anxiety today across the board than even a decade ago. I can see it in the work I do with them every day. Just in the last six months I've seen an up-tic in the number of teens who are dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD.
I believe that part of this stems from information overload. Teenagers are with their smart phones 24-7, even keeping their phones with them at night when they sleep for fear they are going to miss something. They are involved in several different social media sites and exposed to the personal lives of 20 to 30 friends. On top of that they might stay up all night texting, skypeing or playing video games. With all of this stimulation it makes it difficult to have a sense of privacy or security about relationships and the world around you. This creates high levels of anxiety in these kids and high levels of anxiety tend to activate or reactivate OCD symptoms.
OCD occurs in 1-3% of the population of young people and it's more common in boys that are in pre-puberty. Onset of OCD can be both abrupt or gradual. Stress or fatigue can make symptoms worse. With OCD, most of the time there is not a specific situation where the fear or anxiety came from, but rather the teen just has developed a phobia,or excessive fear, and has developed obsessive coping rituals to manage the phobia.
The vast majority of people who develop OCD had the onset of the disorder during childhood and once someone has OCD it's always there. If not treated, OCD can get worse, but those who have gone through treatment can learn how to manage the fears and the activities that result from the fears.
For instance, It's common for teenagers with OCD to have fears about parents' or family's safety. Some teenagers have aggressive obsessions, where they have thoughts and images about hurting someone else.
Some of the other behaviors exhibited include constant hand washing, bathing, teeth brushing or cleaning due to germ phobia or contamination fears. Another symptom of OCD is "scrupulosity" (the obsession with never doing anything wrong). People with OCD might also have counting rituals which they believe help keep them safe.
Half the children who report OCD symptoms have significant dysfunction in their home life, education and social life. Some kids can resist symptoms when they are with friends or at school, but then fall into the symptomatic activity when they get back home.
Common mistakes that families make in dealing with a teen with OCD are accommodations of the compulsions and excessively reassuring the teen that things are going to be okay. The family is only joining in on supporting the behavior. It's a parent's natural inclination is to reassure their kids but it can make the child dependent on them to feel good and does not challenge the fears. This sets up a repetitive cycle of fears leading to compulsive behaviors over and over.
We are launching a new OCD Intensive OutPatient Program (IOP) in order to help both parents and their adolescents learn to be free from the overwhelming fears and the repetitive behaviors that can be so frustrating and life impairing. Maybe an adolescent you know and the parents that love them could benefit from this opportunity. See below for more information.
If you have questions about OCD feel free to contact me.
Sam Lample, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
NEWEST Intensive Outpatient Program Track for Adolescents:
OCD/ Anxiety Disorder
Who: Boys and Girls, ages 12-17. This
track is open enrollment (you may join at any time).
What: Small group format good for
adolescents who are struggling with OCD, extreme social phobia.
When: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, July 8 - August 15
(6 weeks), 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Led By: Sam Lample, LPC, Josh Harper, Med, MS,
and Sarah VanHolland, LPC
Where: Doorways Arizona, 1825 E. Northern Ave, Suite 200
Phoenix, Arizona 85020
How: Email Trina or call Doorways, (602) 997-2880
The OCD IOP runs 3.5 hours per day, for three days a week and is a co-ed group of young men and women ages 12-17.
The OCD IOP involves several group sessions.
In the morning, we begin with discussion about our everyday fears. This is called a Fear Hierarchy Group. This discussion allows people to share their successes and struggles and to adjust their how much intensity each fear has.
After lunch we have Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP). This is a foundational therapeutic approach to helping people with OCD. Each person is exposed to situations having to do with the fears they identified in the Fear Hierarchy Group. They are supported, guided, and supervised with gradual exposure by a licensed therapist. This is where they will experience the most anxiety and make the most progress.
In between the Fear Hierarchy Group and Exposure Group we have a Didactic Group and 30 minute lunch that participants bring from home each day.
The Didactic Groups includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and some experiential-based therapy that have to do with movement/arts or initiatives. We will utilize Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and a coping skills group incorporating values clarification and living out ones values.
Benefits of the OCD IOP Group Program:
The group will help by freeing up the teen to live an age-appropriate life; to do the things that are consistent with what someone their age would do. Basically, it will help them to enjoy life again! They will experience diminished symptoms and living a life based on values not fear.
Why Should Parents Enroll Their Teen In this Program?
OCD can hold a family hostage, making them feel anxious, and powerless to do anything to help. Through the OCD IOP, the student will learn how to manage the OCD on their own which will greatly benefit the family.