“Another Couch.”

Ring, Ring… I left a message for the three recommended therapists. The first, was not accepting new patients; he was out. The second, had available appointments in approximately three to four months; he was out. The third, had an opening in a couple weeks; I took it. Third time’s the charm? I could only hope.

Ugh, another waiting room and another stack of intake forms; this was getting exhausting. A new face appeared at the end of the hallway and called my name in the waiting room. I gathered my belongings and followed him to his office. A black leather couch, a collection of black and white “bridge” photos, hanging on the wall, and a plant in the corner. I found a seat at the end of the couch, near the side table. He sat down in an armchair across from me. “Hi, I’m Damon”.

We began with introductions and then moved on to “Why are you here?”. I adamantly stated, “I’m pretty sure I have OCD”. I provided an overview of the symptoms I was experiencing. Damon then asked, “Have you ever had Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy?”. I said, “No, and I’m not familiar with the term”. He proceeded to explain that ERP was the “gold standard” of OCD treatment. It is a type of behavioral therapy that exposes people to situations that provoke their obsessions and the resulting distress while helping them prevent their compulsive responses. Hmmmmm, I was intrigued.

Damon explained what a treatment plan would look like. ERP, CBT, hierarchies and bans; all of which were foreign to me. Nearing the end of the session, I asked him, “Can you help me?”. He answered with a resounding, “Yes”. It was time to go all in. I was miserable. What did I have to lose? We scheduled my next appointment for the following week. The plan was to work on developing my Exposure Hierarchy… what’s that?


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