There are several different types of support groups that are available for those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are different types of groups. Some are professionally staffed and highly structured and are therapeutic in nature and others that are basically informative and supportive in nature. Some groups are formal and some are informal. Often times groups are organized and run by individuals who themselves have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Professionally Assisted Support Groups
Professionally assisted support groups are generally organized by a mental health agency or organization. This group is usually a therapy group. A therapist usually runs the group and members of the group pay a fee for each session they attend. These groups are usually held at the therapist’s office and may be covered by health insurance. The insurance companies usually see this type of group therapy as an extension of the individual therapy session.
Mutual Support Groups
This type of group is usually run by individuals who themselves are OCD sufferers. These individuals have been in recovery and have been able to manage their symptoms. The meetings for this type of group are informative in nature and usually involve speakers who are mental health professionals. Topics range from medication, symptoms to cognitive behavior therapy. The purpose of the group is informational and not therapeutic. Groups of this type are usually held in public places such as local community centers, churches or schools. Usually the only fee involved may be a minimal one for refreshments or rental of the building/room.
Twelve Step Groups
This type of support group is designed after the 12-step group for Alcoholics Anonymous. The groups are run by members and are called a network of Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous (OCA) groups. These are found all over the U.S.A.
Giving Obsessive Compulsive Another Lifestyle Groups (G.O.A.L.)
A psychologist who was also an OCD sufferer originally started this group. The purpose of the group was to prevent relapse by helping members to continue to work on exposure and response prevention therapy as a group. This is a professionally assisted group, which means there is a therapist at every group meeting. The therapist is only there to give technical information to group members. The members of the group run the meetings.
Belonging to a local support group is very beneficial to the individual with OCD because they can feel a sense of belonging and gain an understanding that they are not alone in their suffering. They can also learn that OCD can be treated successfully and that they can experience fulfilling lifestyles. Support groups are wonderful ways to meet others in similar situations as well as to gather current information regarding therapies, medications and to meet local mental healthcare professionals.