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  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, involves having obsessive thinking patterns that can include unwanted thoughts, images or urges that make a person feel anxious or distressed.

    Individuals who have OCD have significant difficulty pushing away or ignoring these thoughts. Those with OCD also have compulsive behaviors which are an attempt to reverse the obsessive thoughts or urges by performing some sort of action. (Sometimes these compulsions are not outwardly visible to the child’s family as they are mental rituals performed internally.)

    OCD is not:

    -The child’s fault or the parent’s fault. Sometimes very stressful or traumatic events can bring on the disorder, but it does not cause OCD.

    -A choice. If they could stop, they would.

    -Something someone likes; such as “I love being clean or organized”, more like “I have to be clean and organized”.

    -An adjective. When people say “I’m SO OCD! I love having my room all neat and tidy”, it potentially hurts and shames people who really struggle with OCD because they feel significant anxiety and fear if they don’t engage in the ritual or compulsion.

    Let me help you and your child get back to living, OCD FREE!

    Links to online resources

    Common Symptoms of OCD

    The International OCD Foundation lists common OCD symptoms in children:


    - Worrying about germs, getting sick, or dying.

    - Extreme fears about bad things happening or doing something wrong.

    - Feeling that things have to be “just right.”

    - Disturbing and unwanted thoughts or images about hurting others.

    - Disturbing and unwanted thoughts or images of a sexual nature.


    - Excessive checking (re-checking that the door is locked, that the oven is off)

    - Excessive washing and/or cleaning

    - Repeating actions until they are “just right” or starting things over again

    - Ordering or arranging things

    - Mental compulsions (excessive praying, mental reviewing)

    - Frequent confessing or apologizing

    - Saying lucky words or numbers

    - Excessive reassurance seeking (e.g., always asking, “Are you sure I’m going to be okay?”)

    Stop The Obsessive-Compulsive Cycle!

    If one or more of the above symptoms sounds like your child, I encourage you to look into therapy for OCD today.

    Specialized Training in OCD

    Sarah Linder works hard to ensure your child is receiving the best treatment by being educated and experienced in evidence-based treatment for OCD:

    - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD in Children and Adolescents through Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy, presented in collaboration with the International OCD Foundation.

    - CBT and Medication Treatment for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors through Mass General Hospital Psychiatry Academy

    - ERP School: Exposure and Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder through, presented by Kimberley Quinlan

    Treatment Types

    - Research shows that the most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and/or medication.

    - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can also be helpful

    - In some circumstances, EMDR can be helpful to help prepare for CBT & ERP, but is not a substitute for ERP!

    OCD Symptoms do not respond to CBT alone as other anxiety disorders do, so please make sure your child is being treated by someone who understands and has experience with ERP.


    Your child can heal from OCD! CBT with ERP is evidence based treatment and with your help and support, you can get your life back!

    Links to online resources under "Anxiety Disorders"

    Helpful books you might want to read