As we all know, doing compulsions does not help, and in fact hinders recovery from OCD. There is another side to compulsions called accommodation. Accommodation is when a family member, loved one or anyone helps us to do a compulsion. Why do these people do this for us? For many reasons, however a main one is because they care about us. But in the same way us doing compulsions doesn’t help us, neither does people accommodating us.
There is an innovative and new treatment called SPACE from Yale, which stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions and is a parent-based treatment program for children and young people with OCD, and anxiety. A SPACE trained therapist works with the parents to help increase support for the child, while systematically reducing family accommodation.
Increasing support is important for SPACE to be effective. As it helps the parents validate the child’s pain, while also letting the child know the parents believe that the child can handle the OCD symptoms, and task at hand. I personally like this focus on parental support, because this more nurturing and boudaried parenting style is one many of us would want. From the moment we are born we are all trying to attach to other humans, to feel safe and protected. If we think in this context then SPACE increasing parenting support in a validating way can help us feel safe and connected, more able to take ‘risks’ in resisting compulsions.
As Dr Patricia Crittenden said, “Attachment is not the problem. Danger is the problem, & attachment is the solution”. Or, as Dr John Bowlby said, “Life is best organised as a series of daring ventures from a secure base.”
Increased support from our loved ones, can be this secure base from which we can take risks. Our loved ones nurturing this can help, and we can help by helping them understand the impact they can have on our recovery. Check out episode 306 I did with Dr Eli Lebowitz.
Hope that helps.
Illustration by https://namiralph.com/
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