For individuals with contamination OCD who take really long showers, we are now able to provide office-based interventions for reducing your long shower times. We’ve had great success with reducing our patients long shower times from multiple hours to a mere 10-15 minutes.
Reduce Long Shower Times to Short OCD Shower Times
We do this first by developing shower-based response prevention guidelines and modeling non-OCD based shower behavior in-session. We essentially use a shower script to help individuals identify normal shower routines (which, to many of our patients’ surprise, DO NOT include hand-washing behaviors between washing each body part). We practice these routines out of the shower so that our patients can get individualized coaching on these routines. These simulated showers are first performed in our therapy rooms with a therapist, but then are performed in virtual reality (VR) in a virtual model of our office-based shower therapy room.
Our shower scripts are then digitized and downloaded to our patient smart phones, and we then have our contamination OCD patients practice these routines in self-directed exposures in their own homes (in their own showers, but without running water). Due to this practice, long shower times start give way to shorter shower times. We also have individuals with OCD complete imaginal exposure.
Next, we have our contamination OCD patients practice their showers in-office (with running water) in a spa-like shower room. Although our shower is sterilized after each exposure, the very act of using a public shower is, itself, an exposure.
To facilitate these shower-based exposures, we use the same digitized audio script that we used in our simulated exposures to guide the shower. Importantly, we’re also available live via specialized audio technology to coach our patients in implementing this protocol. Patients have full privacy in our spa-like shower room, yet they have the benefit of a live therapist coaching them remotely.
In the event that a patient deviates from their script and begins taking a long shower, we can pause the script, get them back on track via coaching, and then resume the scripted shower routine. We also have the option of terminating the water flow remotely, should the need arise.
Many of our contamination OCD patients with excessively long showers have found that having the option of in-office shower based exposures has been instrumental in helping them get a better handle on their OCD. We also provide in-home sessions, when possible, to generalize treatment gains to our patients’ homes.
I hope that you find this new novel treatment options useful for your contamination OCD ERP! Turn your long shower times into shorter shower times!