• I’m really embarrassed about my symptoms. I don’t think I could admit them to a stranger. This is a common concern for people struggling with intrusive thoughts. I have had clients report fears that they will get cancer, Lyme disease, or another serious illness, unintentionally molest a child or beloved pet, hit someone with their car, commit incest, or inadvertently cause the serious injury or death of another person. These, and many others, are common fears in people with OCD. As a trained specialist, I know the symptoms of OCD often go beyond the stereotypical hand-washing and ‘germaphobia’ (although, these are also common symptoms). OCD can involve intrusive thoughts of a violent or sexual nature, fears of losing control or not having ‘enough,’ religious or morality-themed material, perfectionism, symmetry and a need for things to be ‘even,’ superstitiousness, and even fears about becoming a zombie or taking on the traits of another person (emotional contamination). Whatever your intrusive thoughts are, you can rest assured that I will respond with compassion and understanding.
  • OCD/anxiety is affecting my family and household. Can you help? Absolutely! Working on reducing family accommodation of OCD is a component of most clients’ treatment with me. I prioritize including family members, spouses, parents, and children in the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders because I know the ramifications of the disorder can be widespread. Past clients have described it as “feeling like OCD holds my family hostage.” I work with all impacted members of the family to release them from the clutches of OCD. Click here to learn more about how I work with families affected by OCD and anxiety.
  • Will I need medication? The need for medication is determined on a case-by-case basis. Many clients report good symptom reduction from the ERP, ACT, and CBT treatments alone. Scientific studies also support the efficacy of these treatment techniques and show that medication is not always necessary. For clients who do not respond adequately to therapy, we discuss the option of taking a Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SRI). Many clients who work with me have fears and concerns about taking medication, often related to their OCD/anxiety symptoms. This is a dilemma I am familiar and comfortable working with and you should bring any fears and concerns you have directly to the therapy session. I have good, working relationships with multiple medication prescribers in the greater Worcester area that I refer my clients to.
  • How long will I be in therapy with you? Length of treatment is dependent on many factors, including, but not limited to, your level of motivation and readiness for change, how often you are able to meet for sessions, the severity of symptoms and how long you have had them, etc. Even once the bulk of treatment is completed, clients often return for “booster sessions” to refresh on skills or check in.
  • What techniques will you use to treat my symptoms? To treat anxiety disorders (including OCD, phobias, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety) I use a combination of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive-Behavioral techniques (CBT). These are considered the ‘gold-standard’ in treatment for anxiety disorders and OCD. I also incorporate a good amount of psychoeducation (learning about your symptoms), mindfulness strategies, and call upon adjunctive therapeutic techniques and services when appropriate. Research shows that about 70% of people diagnosed with OCD benefit from ERP and I have found it to be a highly effective treatment module for most anxiety disorders.
  • What happens if my symptoms return or get worse? Get in touch with me as soon as possible. The sooner we can address the symptoms, the easier they will be to treat. Even if the symptoms feel, at the time, like a small intrusion, it is important that you reach out in order to maintain past gains.
  • What if my OCD symptoms are really, really bad? I’ve worked with some fairly intensive cases over the years and have confidence in the treatment techniques I use as well as my strong referral network. For clients whose symptoms are severely impacting their daily functioning, we might discuss a referral to the outpatient program at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital (OCDI), the Child & Adolescent OCDI at McLean Hospital (OCDI Jr.), or the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program (MAMP) for more intensive support. Clients are typically then referred back to me at the completion of treatment for continued outpatient work.
  • Why does therapy cost so much? Therapy with a qualified OCD and anxiety specialist is an investment. Most insurance plans place a lot of restrictions on how therapists are allowed to conduct therapy and this limits the scope of our work. For instance, most insurance plans make it difficult to obtain coverage for out-of-office ERP sessions or home visits, which are often necessary to properly treat OCD. Private pay is a flexible option that allows us autonomy as a treatment team where you and I together can decide what will be the most effective treatment plan for you. On average, people diagnosed with OCD visit 3-4 doctors and spend 6-9 years seeking treatment before they are correctly diagnosed and matched with a knowledgeable OCD specialist. When you add up the number of copays, the time missed from work and other duties, and the stress and hopelessness, it becomes clear how working with an OCD specialist may be a wise investment. Add to that the fact that the right therapeutic interventions can work quickly to alleviate OCD symptoms and you’ve got a good argument for investing in your wellness.
  • Why don’t you accept my insurance? Obtaining highly-individualized and specialized care is challenging when your treatment is managed by an insurance company. Clients and therapists alike are constrained by factors such as how many sessions are allowed and what services the insurance companies will reimburse for. I remain credentialed with insurance panels that have, historically, been flexible regarding treatment for their members. I will also make every effort to secure permission (called a “Single Case Agreement”) from insurance companies that I am not credentialed with to provide treatment for their members on a case-by-case basis. Because most insurance companies make accessing appropriate treatment difficult, I donate my time and some of my income to advocating for improved insurance practices via membership with CliniciansUNITED.
  • You don’t accept my insurance. How do I request a Single Case Agreement with my insurance company? Please use my contact request form and ask that I send you the paperwork. Please note that MassHealth plans (including BMC HealthNet, Tufts Health Together, Neighborhood Health, Fallon, Tufts Navigator, Health New England, Tufts Health Direct, Tufts Health Premier, Tufts Health Unify), Medicaid, and Medicare plans are highly unlikely to approve a Single Case Agreement.