Here is a testimonial from a person who recently completed an OCD PHP:
When I came into (the) therapy program, I was hopeless. I had been at a behavioral health center for a week already being treated for depression, anxiety, and OCD, and my problems had only gotten worse. I had not been able to go to work because I was unable to sleep at night, and I was having panic attacks a few times a day. I had also stopped eating and had lost almost fifteen pounds in three weeks. My case manager saw that I was not benefiting from the mood disorder program that I was currently in and decided to move me to a program that worked specifically with OCD and anxiety related disorders.
On my first day of treatment I was extremely optimistic. I was willing to try anything in order to feel better, even the exposure therapy that, at the time, seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. I sat down with my new case manager and explained to him that I had thoughts and memories that I could not stop thinking about. With anything that I saw or did, my mind would try to relate it to the specific thoughts and memories that I was trying to avoid. In my previous treatment, they tried teaching me to stop my thoughts and “just think of something else.” Anybody who has OCD knows that they cannot “just stop” whatever it is that they have OCD about. Not to mention that when I could not “just stop” my thoughts, I became more concerned that there was something wrong with me, and I also feared the thoughts more and more. I told my case manager all of this, and he said it made perfect sense. For a moment I thought I had misunderstood him, but he explained to me that we cannot “just not think about something. That would be like saying don’t think of a pink elephant. Whatever you do, don’t think of a pink elephant,” he said. Well, of course, I thought of a pink elephant. This was the first time in a week that I had felt like I was not going crazy and that there might actually be help for me.
For the next two weeks I worked with my case manager, and he had me do exposure therapy. He would have me compose a list of all of the things that I was afraid of or did not want to think of. Next, I would either write about those things or think about them for a couple hours. The point of this was to desensitize the thought or memory and have myself realize that it was simply just a thought, and it was not going to hurt me. After a few hours of thinking about these things, my body would slowly become less and less anxious. Eventually I got so used to thinking about certain things that I simply did not think about them anymore, because I was not trying to fight them. More and more time would pass before I would even realize that the thoughts that had been previously troubling me so much had been absent for large amounts of time.
In total, I spent two weeks in the OCD program. By the end of the two weeks I was able to sleep at night, eat again, go back to work, I had even stopped having panic attacks! Had it not been for the OCD program and the exposure and cognitive behavioral therapy, I can honestly attest that I would not be able to write this today, as I do not feel I would have ever recovered. Although there are times now when I may remember one of my thoughts that I was afraid of, and I may get slightly anxious, because of the program I now know not only how to, but that I can, handle my OCD.