Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Being referred for OCD therapy
This post follows on from my previous post, 'Contacting my doctor for OCD guidance'.
After my appointment with my doctor and completing the questionnaires, I was told to wait a few days for the psychological practitioners to contact me. I had no idea who they would be or where they would be located and readied myself for a long wait.
It was to my surprise then that a letter arrived a couple of days later from a psychological therapy provider that was based about 20 minutes from my home. This filled me with a certain amount of confidence that I hadn't realised I was lacking: The service being offered suddenly seemed to be so much more intimate.
The letter told me to contact them to make a telephone assessment appointment that would take approximately 30 minutes. I rang them and spoke to a very friendly and professionally mannered lady who asked me a few questions as to why I was seeking therapy, and who then asked me questions related specifically to my obsessive compulsive disorder i.e. in what form did it take, how long had I had symptoms, etc. She then asked me questions relating to self harm and suicidal thoughts. I would assume that the people who contact them suffering in that state of mental anxiety would be given priority over people like me, and in my opinion rightly so. I was also to fill in six more short psychological questionnaires that they had provided that were all based on the 'on a scale of one-to-five' sort.
My appointment was booked in for a couple of days later with the same lady who took my initial call. The form of this assessment was to read the relevant numbers back to her from each of the questionnaires, the results then being used to determine the length of treatment and the severity of particular symptoms that result from my OCD i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.
If the questionnaires showed that my therapy would be short term (approximately six sessions or thereabouts) then I would be seen by them at their therapy centre nearby, if the questionnaires showed that my therapy would be longer term (more than six sessions) then I would be referred to the National Health Service (N.H.S.) psychological therapy providers.
The decision was made that my case warranted a longer course of therapy. This therapy, as many of you out there suffering from OCD will already know, takes the form of cognitive behavioural therapy (C.B.T.), which essentially means brain behaviour therapy, to influence and change the thinking patterns and behaviours that result from the condition of OCD.
Many people also have to perform exposure and response prevention therapy (E.R.P.) which I think may depend on the form that their OCD symptoms take but I am not sure on this yet as I haven't, at this moment in time, actually begun my course of treatment.
Medication can also be prescribed to rebalance the chemicals in the brain that, left alone, help to promote the OCD symptoms and related behaviours. I am not currently on medication and hope to progress enough in my therapy so as to not need it but if it is required then it should not be seen as a negative as it is there to assist with a smooth recovery.
I have been on the waiting list for approximately a month now for an NHS appointment and I have been advised that it could take up to three months or so, depending on availability and whether priority cases jump the queue ahead of me, which as I said before, I do not begrudge at all. I cannot imagine being in such a state as to contemplate suicide and my mental suffering, although not at all mild to me, has never lead my thoughts down such a path.
This is as far as I have got so far through my OCD journey regarding treatment so I am unable to explain more about the process followed in the United Kingdom until I begin my course of therapy. But I will be sure to write more as and when I have more experiences to write about.
My future posts will now focus more on my day-to-day life with OCD: The observations that I make and the impact it has over my thoughts.