childhood-ocdSome strategies for therapy just aren’t helpful. Oh, they’re fine for the therapist that works at a research oriented clinic with a large multi-disciplinary team who can specialize in only that one problem area, but not for the vast majority of us practicing in settings where we need to be generalists.

If you’re a parent looking for help for your child who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and happen to live close to a handful of such specialty clinics, you’re in luck. You might check out the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania or The Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas. Or, you could see the author of this book – Lee Fitzgibbons – if you live in Maine.

It’s the rest of us that Dr. Fitzgibbons wrote this book.

Here’s what I like about Helping Your Child with OCD:

It really is written for parents. Not too many technical words and what few are used are readily defined. The examples are typical of what parents of grade school age children might encounter.

There are plenty of worksheets for parents to use and the directions for their use are easily understood.

Fitzgibbons and Pedrick (Cherry Pedrick is a writer who if also a RN) avoid lengthy medical jargon when explaining OCD: the assumption seems to be parents of children with OCD know what the disorder is like, they need help with interventions and don’t need theoretical explanations.

The basic approach Fitzgibbons takes is one of cognitive and behavioral changes with an emphasis on how the disorder impacts the family system.

Shortcomings:
I really have no complaints with the book itself. The writing is clear and the concepts easily understood.

The approach to dealing with OCD, however, is time consuming and intensive work for the parents. I wouldn’t want to try any of this without the help of a therapist who has read the same book and is comfortable with the approach.

A healthy level of marital communication is implied in the interventions; I can imagine some parents will need marital therapy (or at least communication skills building) in order to use this approach to helping their child.

I’m remembering one family I worked with: Mom and step-dad worked different shifts so one could be at home with the children and even when they saw one another communication between them was poor. And biological father and his wife didn’t see that the child had a problem; they were content to blame all of the kid’s difficulties on the bio-mom. Recommending Helping Your child with OCD would have been helpful only after numerous other issues had been addressed.