As I’ve mentioned before, Dan entered a residential treatment program for OCD in the summer so he would be well enough to return to college in the fall.
Nine weeks later, though he had made great strides, the staff recommended that Dan stay until his OCD was totally under control. Dan agreed. How could he go back to school and continue on with his life if he was still dealing with all of this anxiety? Interestingly, Dan had successfully completed his previous semester at school while battling severe OCD. It was torturous but he insisted on not giving up. It’s almost as if he didn’t realize how bad off he was until he entered the residential program.
How much intensive therapy is enough? Or too much? The staff at the residential program seemed to be OCD about OCD. They felt that Dan should totally concentrate on his therapy, basically putting his life on hold until he could conquer his demons. Perhaps he needed to be a success story for the program; another client leaving with few, if any, symptoms of OCD.
In arguing his point Dan said to us, “If I go back to school, I won’t have enough time to concentrate on my OCD.” Hmm. Isn’t that a good thing? To be engaged in your life and not obsessed with your obsessive compulsive disorder? Of course I understood what Dan meant, but it seemed like flawed thinking. That’s one of the problems with Dan’s residential program. It was truly, totally, all about the OCD……..and let’s face it, how healthy can that be?
We ended up insisting that Dan leave the program and he did go back to school. A roller coaster of a year followed, and I often second-guessed our decision. Ultimately though, I believe it was the right thing to do. Dan needed to get back into the world and his life………..which includes so much more than OCD.