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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Camp - Show Recap


Original Air Date:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

OCD Camp - Introduction:

Dr. Oz and OCD expert Dr. Jonathan Grayson organized an OCD boot camp to help 6 individuals living with a number of different obsessions. Kate and Brian, who both obsess over germs; April, who fears her food is poisoned; Janene, who struggles in many forms; and Kathy and Corbin who both have irrational thoughts. The 6 patients joined both Dr. Oz and Dr. Grayson on a 3 day trip to a YMCA camp outside of Philadelphia for therapy based on exposure.

OCD Camp - Day 1 Therapy:

Dr. Grayson started therapy on day one by asking a question of the patients - what have you lost to your OCD? The responses were of a similar theme including freedom, being in the present moment and feeling like life is a prison. Dr. Grayson uses exposure and response prevention therapy that puts patients in the face of their fear and then works with them to overcome it. The next step on day one was to welcome in "dirty world" first with a group hug to cross contaminate everyone. Next the group had to kneel down and put their hands on the floor and then touch their hands to their tongues.

The group then moved to the bedroom and walked all over their bedding with their dirty shoes. While these may seem like extreme measures, Dr. Grayson explained that people do these kinds of things without realizing it in daily life. Putting a pen in your mouth, playing with your kids on the floor and then preparing food are things Dr. Grayson stated happen on a regular basis.

OCD Camp - Brian:

Dr. Grayson started to work with Brian on day one working with his fear of the bathroom and using a toilet because of the germs. With his exposure technique, Dr. Grayson had Brian touch the toilet seat and then touch his tongue. The next step was to sit on the seat - while Brian was able to sit, he was not comfortable enough to use the bathroom. As a guest on the show, Brian revealed that he can now use the bathroom and even keeps his hands out of his pockets and isn't afraid to touch things.

OCD Camp - Janene:

Janine, who struggles with hoarding, double checking locks and switches and has control issues, was next to be targeted by Dr. Grayson. Janene described how she fears her children playing outside and doesn't like people touching her things. To start helping her face her fears, Dr. Grayson had another patient go through Janene's bags. When Dr. Grayson asked Janene how she would feel if her most valuable item in her luggage was lost or stolen she was upset, but he then asked her if she loved her children more than her things and she found more of a purpose to the exercise.

OCD Camp - Day 1 Dinner:

For the length of the camp, the group was instructed not to wash their hands or bathe, even before eating. The group had pizza and soda for dinner which they had to eat with their dirty hands. For April, it was a big challenge because she fears her food is poisoned. She had a big breakthrough when she was able to take a drink from a cup of soda that Dr. Grayson had opened and poured for her.

OCD Camp - Day 2/April:

April again had issues after the day 2 breakfast - she feared that her pancakes were poisoned and that she needed to vomit or she would die. April began to panic and talked to Dr. Grayson about not getting to see or talk to her kids before she died. Dr. Grayson had April say what she would want to tell her children if she were in fact poisoned, to face her fear for her kids. April's nerves worsened and she walked outdoors with Dr. Oz and Dr. Grayson trying to get over the anxiety, but after 20 minutes made herself vomit.

OCD Camp - Day 2 Therapy:

After a long 2 mile walk through Philadelphia to break down the group's defenses, Dr. Grayson took the group to an alley. The goal was to approach the filth of a city trash can. Kate went first and had to touch the inside of the can and then touch her hair, her clothing, her face and then her tongue. Brian was next to go, but had difficulty and was coached through it by the doctors. The rest of the group did the task as well. Dr. Grayson explained that the goal of the exposure is to take the challenge as far as possible to face the fear.

OCD Camp - Evening Therapy:

The evening therapy for the group was a discussion session where Kate opened up that she doesn't cry often, trying to be strong - that she goes through the motions of a living person with no passion. Dr. Grayson explained that people cry when they feel safe enough to let things fall.

During the session, Janene revealed that she lost her twin sister at 8 and often felt that her OCD was her punishment for living when her sister had died, but with the help of the therapy she was able to see that she could live for her sister.

OCD Camp - Day 3

On the third day of the intense therapy, each person spoke of the change they had felt; describing joy, a rebirth, and feeling great. Being able to take things a day or even a step at a time helped each person to live for the moment.

To get similar help, Dr. Grayson recommends looking for professional help that uses the exposure and response prevention treatment. Group support and medication are other possible treatments for people suffering from OCD.

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