Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition fairly well known among mental health professionals and the psychologically minded public at large. Yet as with so many things, there exist extreme departures from what we’d normally envision of a person afflicted with OCD—and the co-author of a recently released book on the subject is an excellent example. The man, who experienced the issue for most of his life, had developed extreme rituals that kept him from leaving his house or carrying out the vast majority of daily tasks; he became unable to bathe himself and spent hours each day carrying out elaborate counting and organizing rituals. That is, until he met the man who would help him triumph over his condition: his psychotherapist.
The two met after the afflicted man’s family called for help, and the psychotherapist, a renowned expert on OCD at Harvard Medical School, drove three hours to meet and assess the man—and the mind—that would occupy his professional efforts for years to come. That initial meeting was difficult; the young man had developed strict rules for what actions could be taken in his home or around his person, yet psychologist and client were eventually able to find common ground.
The extraordinary tale of a syndrome so highly developed that it defied many professionals’ attempts to rein and the process of dismantling it to achieve the ultimate freedom for its victim is the subject of a new book, created by the client-therapist pair as well as a dedicated biographer. Highlighting the great expanses of what is possible when dedication and positive techniques are employed to dire psychological situations, the book is stirring up new conversation on the ability of therapy to not only enhance lives, but to save them. The book, Life in Rewind, is published by Harper-Collins.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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