Choosing a Therapist

How do I choose a therapist?

After making a decision to seek therapy many people do not know how to go about finding an experienced, qualified therapist.  Finding a therapist can be confusing because there are many different types of therapists (Ph.D., Psy.D., LCSW, MFT, LPCC, “counselors,” etc.)  offering a wide range of treatments.  Anyone who is unfamiliar with mental health treatment may find the array of choices overwhelming.

When people don’t know how to find a qualified therapist they often rely on therapist directories, a referral from a doctor, apps or recommendations from friends.  While these may be convenient ways to find a therapist, these recommendations do not always ensure that you are choosing a therapist who provides effective treatment for your specific problem. Unfortunately, many therapists say that they treat anxiety but few have specialized training in OCD and anxiety disorder treatment.

What is an OCD and Anxiety Disorder Specialist?

A OCD Specialist is a mental health therapist who may be a BTTI graduate or graduate of another training program, treats a large percentage of OCD cases, has been supervised by an expert in OCD, and is experienced in Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP). They generally have expertise in treating all anxiety disorders. Some OCD Specialists also have expertise in treating “OC Spectrum Disorders” such as Body Focused Repetitive Disorders (BFRBs), Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Emetophobia, Avoidant Restrictive Eating Disorder (ARFID), and Hoarding Disorder. OCD Specialists are not “talk therapists” and do not use non evidence-based treatments for OCD (i.e. psychodynamic therapy, “tapping,” somatic psychotherapy, EMDR etc.)

How do I find an OCD Specialist?

Finding an OCD Specialist can sometimes be challenging because there are not enough therapists trained in Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy. One of the best ways to find an OCD Specialist is to consult the International OCD Foundation’s Provider Directory.

If you are a resident of the Bay Area you can consult the Bay Area OCD’s Referral and Resource List. This list is updated frequently with OCD and Anxiety Disorder Specialists in the Bay Area.