1st Edition

The Family Guide to Getting Over OCD Reclaim Your Life and Help Your Loved One

By Jonathan S. Abramowitz Copyright 2021

    When a loved one has OCD, it's a constant struggle. It hurts to see your spouse so anxious or your teen spending so much time alone. You've tried logic, reassurance, even accommodating endless rituals--but, too often, these well-meaning attempts actually make OCD worse. Psychologist Jonathan Abramowitz has worked with countless families affected by OCD, and he understands the strain. He also knows you can turn things around. Grounded in state-of-the-art treatment research, this compassionate guide helps you change your own behavior to support your loved one's recovery. By gently but firmly encouraging the person you care about to face their fears, you can stop being controlled by the disorder, disentangle yourself from unhealthy patterns, and see your whole family grow more confident and hopeful. Vivid stories, dos and don'ts, and practical tools (which you can download and print for repeated use) help you follow the step-by-step strategies in this life-changing book.

    I. Understanding OCD
    1. What Is OCD?
    2. How Does OCD Set Its Trap?
    3. How Do Families Get Entangled in OCD?
    4. Treatment That Can Help Your Relative--and Your Family
    II. Preparing to Untangle Yourself from OCD
    5. Why Your Loved One May Refuse Treatment--and What You Can Do
    6. Learning the Facts About Anxiety, Obsessions, and Uncertainty
    7. Learning to Communicate Effectively
    III. Reducing OCD’s Influence Step by Step
    8. Taking Stock of Your Situation
    9. Preparing Your Loved One
    10. Setting and Maintaining Expectations
    11. Reducing Accommodation
    12. Responding to Arguments, Threats, and Extreme Behavior
    13. Staying on Track
    IV. When Your Loved One Is Ready for Help
    14. Finding the Right Treatment Program and Provider
    15. Becoming an Effective Exposure Therapy Coach


    Jonathan S. Abramowitz, PhD, ABPP, is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Research Professor of Psychiatry, and Director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Abramowitz conducts research on anxiety disorders and has published over 250 articles, book chapters, and books. He serves as Editor of the Journal of Obsessive–Compulsive and Related Disorders and is on the editorial boards of several other scientific journals. He is past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and serves on the scientific and clinical advisory board of the International OCD Foundation. Dr. Abramowitz is a recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to Research Award from the Mayo Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from Division 12 of the American Psychological Association. His books include The Family Guide to Getting Over OCD; Getting Over OCD, Second Edition; and The Stress Less Workbook (for general readers), and Exposure Therapy for Anxiety, Second Edition (for mental health professionals).

    "This excellent resource is packed with great examples. In simple, clear language, it describes specific strategies you can start using immediately to increase your support of your loved one--while reducing accommodation of OCD. This book is a 'must have' for anyone with an adult or child family member struggling with OCD."--Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, New England Center for OCD and Anxiety

    "If you have a family member suffering from OCD, this masterful book offers guidance and hope. Dr. Abramowitz helps you understand what your loved one is going through, what treatment entails, and how you can provide the best support. This is an impressive work that fills a significant gap in the field, and that will be helpful to everyone who cares about someone with OCD."--Eric Storch, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of Psychology, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

    "Reading this book is basically like having Dr. Abramowitz as your family’s therapist. There are many explanations and examples that helped us understand what our daughter was going through and connect with her in a healthier way. The real game changer was when we successfully stopped participating in her compulsions. Following this book’s advice was not always easy, but it definitely improved our child’s self-confidence and reduced the level of frustration in our family."--Len G., Wake Forest, North Carolina

    "By far the most comprehensive family-focused OCD resource. Dr. Abramowitz, one of the premier leaders in the field, includes everything you need to know in one easy-to-read book. He guides you through each step needed to help someone with OCD."--Bradley C. Riemann, PhD, Chief Clinical Officer, Rogers Behavioral Health-Abramowitz writes in a comfortable, reassuring, and information-filled way, highlighting empirically supported methods and strategies that can be utilized by most families….Abramowitz is a skilled and seasoned therapist. His research, training, and preparation shine through in this excellent family guide. It is well written, comprehensive, and thorough and can be a significant adjunct and support to families struggling with the impact of someone within the family who has OCD.…A significant value.--Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 8/17/2021ƒƒThis book is a masterpiece for healing, health, and hope. It is readable and lofty at the same time. There is plenty of science here, but it is skillfully written so that it is easy to understand and easy to accept what is offered. There are no comparable books; this book stands alone. The author makes it clear that he knows OCD and cares about those stuck in the web of routines and rituals. He provides hope where there has been none. Families struggling with OCD are encouraged to use this book. The strategies and supports are life changing.--Doody’s Review Service, 7/22/2021