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  • How to Support a Loved One With OCD

    Has one of your friends or family members been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Understanding what OCD entails and how you can offer your support is crucial for their journey toward healing. Below, we delve into the nature of OCD and provide strategies, including those from a Christian perspective, to assist your loved one as they navigate this condition.

    What Is OCD?

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts and urges (obsessions) and/or the compulsion to perform repetitive actions (compulsions). These behaviors can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life. Often, those with OCD realize their thoughts and actions are excessive, yet feel powerless to stop them.

    Tips for Supporting a Loved One With OCD

    Supporting someone with OCD requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to learn about their unique challenges.

    Here are several ways you can be there for your loved one:

    Educate Yourself: Gaining a deeper understanding of OCD is the first step towards empathy and support. This foundation

    enables you to offer meaningful assistance and guidance.

    Encourage Open Communication: Invite your loved one to share their experiences and feelings. Listen without judgment, acknowledging that their reality may differ significantly from your own.

    Provide Validation: It’s important to validate their feelings and struggles, demonstrating your unconditional support. Let them know you see their struggle and are there for them, without judgment.

    Offer Distractions: Engaging in activities together, such as walks or movie nights, can offer temporary relief from obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

    Resist Enabling Behaviors: While it might be tempting to offer constant reassurance or assist in compulsive rituals, doing so can inadvertently reinforce their OCD. Encourage coping strategies and professional help instead.

    Pray Together: Inviting spiritual practices into your support, such as praying together, can be comforting. Sharing scriptures that emphasize hope and resilience can also be uplifting. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Offer Distraction Strategies: Encourage your loved one to explore faith-based coping mechanisms, such as meditation on scriptures, participating in church communities, or speaking with a faith leader. These practices can offer spiritual solace and strength. Distract them from their thoughts and behaviors by taking them on a walk or watching a movie with them.You can also incorporate faith based activities such as meditating on scripture, participating in Church events or speaking with a Church leader.

    Seek Professional Help: Remind them that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A mental health professional can provide the necessary guidance and treatment to manage OCD effectively.

    Learn More About OCD

    If your loved one is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, reaching out for professional help can make a significant difference. Treatment for OCD is highly individualized, so it’s crucial to find a therapist or counselor who understands their specific needs, possibly someone who integrates faith into their practice if that aligns with your loved one’s values. And we are here to support you. Don’t hesitate to call us!

    As you journey with your loved one through their OCD, remember the words of Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Your support, grounded in understanding, patience, and faith, can be a powerful pillar of strength for them.

    Written by Rebecca Muyres, LPC, CPCS, RPT-S, CCTP