Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts about an Intensive Outpatient Program

Well, tomorrow could decide the direction of the rest of my life. After my worst OCD episode yet, I'm at a crossroads: Should I attend an intensive outpatient program for OCD?

I'm blessed to live in a city that hosts one of the 10 programs of its kind. Called an IOP, it would likely be 10 weeks of 3-hour individual therapy, group therapy, and exposure and response prevention, and I would be encouraged to leave my job to focus on the task. Attending the IOP would be a radical step in my learning to deal with OCD, and not even 2 weeks ago I was dead set on going after months of desperation. Now, the night before my intake appointment, I'm trying to gather the thoughts and questions that have run through my head since I scheduled the meeting a month ago.

What will I get out of it?
Will it be helpful at this stage, since I seem to be doing better at this moment?
How will the IOP help me to be prepared when unforeseen episodes strike?
Is there a better medication for me in light of my goals for my life?
What kind of ERP exposures will I do given that most of my OCD is pure obsession?
Should I go?

The decision I make tomorrow could mean I'm putting my life on pause for 10 weeks. My husband, of course, is supportive, as he encouraged me to at least go to the intake appointment. I will, with my notepad of questions in-hand.


  1. I feel for you! Though I don't have that option - therapy for OCD is VERY DIFFICULT. I must say that it might be "easier" for you to be able to put everything else in your life aside (job etc) while you focus on this for 10 weeks. Good luck with your decision - I can't wait to hear what you do!

  2. OCD puts our lives on pause too--and for far longer than 10 weeks. Whatever road you take, I hope you find good treatment for your OCD! You can't know the answers to those questions in advance--my OCD would have me freeze to figure it all out before doing anything, and my life would freeze too.

  3. I just stumbled onto your blog........I am wondering if you ever attended the IOP but I sure hope you did. My son suffered from severe OCD and spent nine weeks at a world renowned residential program. While we had many issues with him staying there, the intensive ERP Therapy literally saved his life. I hope you are doing well now. I talk about my son Dan's journey at if you want to check it out.

  4. I was looking for a update on how the IOP was translating in practice. Have you ever looked into research about
    deep brain stimulation (DBS)?
    Do you know of anyone who has had exposure to this and how it may have gone.
    Thank you for the link to your blog Janet...