Four Things Christians Seeking OCD Treatment Are Looking For

ACCFS receives calls from Christian people around the world seeking treatment for OCD with religious themes and scrupulosity. While ACCFS unfortunately is not able to accept them as clients, the agency does try to help direct them to effective and respectful options for individual care. While often it feels callers are looking for a “needle in a haystack”, the below summary provides some things to consider when seeking OCD treatment options.

Four things Christians seeking OCD treatment are looking for:

  1. OCD Specialist/Depth of Experience – Most individuals want to work with someone who really knows OCD well and who is up on the latest treatments and standards of care. No one wants to feel like they know more about a condition than their therapist.
  2. Affordable/Covered – Let’s face it, counseling can be expensive. Finding an affordable therapist or who is covered by your insurance policy is important.
  3. Local/Accessible – Those struggling with OCD must be able to reach the counselor’s office for regular sessions or access them through telehealth. While more therapists who treat OCD are using telehealth, they usually limit which states in which they practice.
  4. Belief System Match – Feeling your religious and spiritual beliefs are safe and respected in counseling is very important. When your OCD symptoms become entwined in your Christian beliefs, it can feel essential your therapist understands and shares those beliefs.

NOTE: It is VERY difficult to find someone with ALL four characteristics. So, what do you do? Start by picking two of the four items above that are the most essential to you. Then determine how you can work on filling in or making up for the other two you either don’t have or only partially have. Sometimes after trying and coming up empty, you may need to switch your criteria around.

Example:  Let’s say that you have determined that there is only one therapist who specializes in OCD (#1 above) within driving distance (#3 above). You check and find out that this therapist knows OCD treatment well but isn’t very familiar with your faith background (#4 above).  The clinic also doesn’t take your insurance (#2 above).  What do you do?

  1. First, sensitive and ethical practitioners will be willing to communicate with your family members and clergy if you have signed Release of Information forms. At times, support people may even come to session with you. The involvement of a family member and your pastor may not only help you to feel like your beliefs will be well-represented and respected in therapy, but your support people may learn important information about how to (and not to) support you during treatment. (#4 above)
  2. Second, you and your therapist might use information from this website like Principles of Effective And Religiously-Sensitive Exposures to help you talk through effective techniques, how your faith will be respected in the treatment process and collaborate together on your goals.
  3. Third, the practitioner may offer intensive treatment options that, while more expensive in the short term due to multiple hours of therapy each week, may be more effective and cheaper in the long term. (#2 above)

While looking for effective and respectful care for OCD can be a challenge, most people seeking treatment should be able to find a good match.