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We are excited to have a number of talks at this year’s conference that focus on a relatively new treatment option for OCD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. In today’s blog post, we hear from two presenters who are participating in talks about ACT in Chicago, Jesse Crosby, PhD, and Nate Gruner, LICSW, both from the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital. 

Which talks will you be presenting at this year’s Annual Conference? 

Jesse Crosby: “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for OCD and Related Disorders: Current Research and Future Directions” on Saturday, July 28th at 10:00am; and “How Does ACT Really Fit Into the Treatment of OCD?” on Sunday, July 29th, at 9:00am.

Nate Gruner: I will be co-presenting “How Does ACT Really Fit Into the Treatment of OCD?”on Sunday from 9–10:30am. I will also be co-presenting a (non-ACT) talk for individuals with OCD and and their families called “Handing Over the Keys,” on Friday, July 26th, from 11:00am–12:30pm.

What makes your talks unique? Why do you think Conference attendees should attend your talks?

JC: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new approach that offers some additional tools to address OCD.  In one talk I will be addressing the current research in this area and in the other I will be talking about my practical experience trying to integrate ACT with traditional ERP in a clinical setting.

NG“How Does ACT Really Fit Into the Treatment of OCD?” is a talk that was organized by researchers and therapists who are exploring how ACT can be used to improve treatment for OCD.  This is an exciting talk because we will be presenting ideas from our research and clinical experience that may shed light on how to help clients who are not making progress in traditional treatment for OCD.

“Handing Over the Keys,” meanwhile, is a talk that was organized by a client who is sharing his story of OCD and how he got his life back.  I’m one of four therapists he has worked with during the course of his treatment. All of his therapists will be discussing the challenges and successes we experienced, and what we learned from working together.  This is a unique talk because it provides the audience with both a client and therapist perspective on OCD treatment.

Tell us a little bit about you, what you currently do, and how you became involved in the OCD community.

JC: I am just completing my predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at McLean Hospital / Harvard Medical School.  I went to graduate school at Utah State University and studied with Michael Twohig, PhD.  I recently accepted a position as a Research Postdoctoral Fellow at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital.

NG: I’m a behavior therapist at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute.  I’m also working on a research study that is testing different models of exposure therapy.  My involvement in the OCD community started a few years ago when I first began working at the OCD Institute.  My first IOCDF conference was in Boston in 2008.

Have you been to an IOCDF Conference before? What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Conference?

JC: This is my first IOCDF Conference.  I am looking forward to 1) interacting with the individuals and families affected by OCD, and 2) listening to and meeting many of the professionals in the field of OCD.

NG: Yes, I’ve attended three IOCDF conferences. I really enjoyed the “OCD in the Media” talk last year in San Diego.  They showed a trailer of a feature film about OCD that could be made at some point in the future. It’s good to see more awareness being raised for OCD.

After taking a look at the Conference schedule ( on pages 4–6 in the Conference Registration Brochure), what workshops are you most excited about attending and why?

JC: I am interested in attending the Perfectionism session with Jeff Szymanski [“Practically Perfect: When and Why Perfectionism Pays Off or Backfires”], the Hoarding presentation with Gail Steketee and Randy Frost [“Features, Conceptualization, and Treatment of Hoarding Disorder”], and the Repetitive Behavior presentation with Nancy Keuthen et al. [“A Conversation with the Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Experts”].

NG: I’m a definitely going to attend “The Integration of ACT and ERP.”  This is a talk organized by a leading ACT and a leading ERP researcher who are collaborating on a study comparing ERP for OCD with ERP plus ACT for OCD.  I think this is one of the most exciting studies going on in OCD treatment right now because it has the potential to show us how to increase clients’ ability to fully engage in ERP.

I’m also looking forward to the talks that involve both clients and their therapists.  I think it’s important to hear from both perspectives.  Often we only hear from the therapists/researchers at these conferences.  Clients have valuable wisdom to share about the experience of OCD and its treatment.

6. Are you traveling to Chicago for the Conference? What are you most excited about doing in Chicago while you are there for the Conference? 

JC: I am traveling from Boston, but I have been to Chicago once before for a conference and had a great time!  If they are in town, the Deep Blue Organ Trio is a great jazz show, and I hope to catch a Cubs game vs. the Cardinals Sunday afternoon.

NG: I’m traveling to Chicago for the conference.  I’m looking forward to exploring the city and checking out the Navy Pier.  I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

If you want to learn more about ACT, be sure to check out the talks at the conference. And be on the look out for our upcoming interview with Michael Twohig, PhD, a leading ACT researcher who is also presenting about ACT at the conference.


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