Therapists with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

by stuart miles

by stuart miles

When I first became involved in OCD advocacy about six years ago, I would occasionally come across articles or books written by therapists whose bios revealed that they had OCD themselves. I always found this information comforting, because at the time it was hard for me to believe my son would ever again be able to function in the outside world. If someone with OCD can come so far – from struggling with a devastating disorder to helping people with this same illness, then maybe there was hope for my son as well.

Lately, I seem to be coming across more and more therapists and other health-care professionals who specialize in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and have OCD themselves. It could be that people in general are more comfortable disclosing their mental health issues, or it could be that more people who have overcome OCD are choosing  careers where they can help others do the same.

How great is that!

I have written before about how those with OCD are often hesitant to seek help as they are aware of how irrational their obsessions and compulsions are. They are embarrassed to discuss their OCD in detail. But if their therapist also has OCD, they just might be more willing. After all, who can understand what you’re going through and how you are feeling better than someone who has had similar experiences?

Perhaps the greatest benefit of having so many practicing therapists with obsessive-compulsive disorder goes back to a word in the first paragraph of this post: HOPE. Here are people who have not only overcome a potentially devastating disorder, they have no doubt worked very hard to achieve their dream of helping others. They have chosen a difficult path and have succeeded. How could there be any better role models for those who are wondering if they might ever be able to live the lives they want?

One of the main reasons I blog is to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable, and I often refer to my son’s story as proof. But to have that proof – that hope -sitting in the same room as you? I don’t think it can get any better than that.





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14 Responses to Therapists with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  1. I wanted to go into social work because I had a social worker as a teen tell me she didn’t understand what I was going through and I found it really damaged my trust in her. I get to work with clients now who I can relate to and I see a difference in how we interact. They feel better faster. Their problem isn’t solved but they feel less isolated at least.

    • Thanks for sharing, Kristin. I never realized that’s why you became interested in social work. I agree that it’s a huge benefit to work with people who truly understand what you’re going through. My guess is you’ve helped a LOT of people!

  2. Blake’s first therapist had OCD, and at least two of the other therapists who worked as part of his team at the clinic shared that they had OCD. Frankly, it gave us all hope!

  3. Thank you for publishing this story -+ (I am putting a link to it on our OCD Support website ) – it gives many of us hope! I am an OCD Behavioral Therapist with OCD MYSELF, too. It enables me to understand my clients in a way many therapists can’t seem to – my clients often tell me that! (In fact, my OCD therapist had once told me that if he had OCD, he could never help anyone with it! WRONG!) In the 30 years since I recovered, I have helped at lease 350 people regain their lives. That’s a win-win situation!

  4. flubadub says:

    Your work and your blog are critical. One never knows where hope will come from. Writing is so theraputic for both the writer and the reader.

  5. I couldn’t agree more! I find therapists who also have OCD incredibly inspiring! If they can make it, get better enough to get a degree, and function at a job then so can I!

  6. Craig says:

    I’ve overcome most of my OCD since getting help and I’m now looking at ways I can help others. I enjoyed reading this piece because it gives me hope that I can be of use to other suffers myself

    • Hi Craig, Thanks for commenting. Just the fact that you have overcome so much of your OCD and are willing to share your story with others is a huge inspiration to those who are still struggling. Hope to hear from you again!

      • To Craig, and anyone else who wants to help: One of the best ways to help people with OCD is to start an OCD support Group. It gives people the same confidence as reading Janet’s column, but it’s in-person! I recommend doing BOTH. All you need to do is post an invitation in a public place or newspaper, and invite people to just come and share stories of hope. They will ‘bang your door down’ to join your group; it is so badly needed! [Anyone needing help on how to start a support group can contact me – I have run these groups for over 20 years!

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