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Shala Nicely, MS, has had OCD all of her life and is currently an OCD therapist at Cornerstone Family Services, LLC, in Atlanta. She will be telling the story of her own triumph over OCD, “Is Fred in the Refrigerator?” as the keynote speaker at this year’s Annual OCD Conference in Atlanta. In this guest blog post, Shala shares with us her top five reasons for attending this year’s conference. We think one of the reasons should be to hear her speak in the keynote, of course!

Without giving too much of my keynote story away, I can easily say that the choice I made in 2010 to attend the IOCDF conference literally changed my life.  If you’ve never attended before and are thinking about whether the conference is worth it, let me share the top 5 reasons why this is a conference not to miss:

5.  You’ll meet others with OCD.

When I walked into the conference in 2010, I was surrounded for the first time by hundreds of other people who, like me, were living with OCD.  And they “got it”—they intuitively knew what I was talking about when I described how the disorder affected me.  I felt a kind of kinship with everyone I met.   I wasn’t alone!  These people all understood! In fact, it was such a powerful experience that several of us formed a phone OCD self-help support group after the conference, and we still hold support calls to this day.  What other conference could offer this kind of opportunity?

4. You will have fun!

The IOCDF does a great job making the conference more than just presentations. There are activities, like the trivia night for young adults and storytelling for kids.  There’s an art therapy room for kids and teens.  There’s the social on Saturday night and opportunities to meet up with others who have similar interests at the “themes” tables during lunch.  And some of the presentations and workshops are downright fun…and funny!  While we take OCD seriously, we try to take ourselves less seriously, and the conference allows everyone to let their hair down and have a little fun!

3.  You’ll get the latest information about OCD and its treatment.

Not only that, but you’ll get it right from the people who do the research and set the standards for OCD treatment worldwide.  And everyone is so open and friendly, you can talk with presenters and ask them questions that most interest you.  The night I got back from my first conference, I told a friend, “The conference was just one mind-blowing presentation after another… I learned more today about OCD than I have in the last 10 years combined!”  It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.  With more than 100 presentations and workshops to choose from, you will come away with so much new information about OCD that you can use the very next day to start feeling better.

2.  You’ll hear from people who have overcome OCD… and how they did it.

Inspiring—if I had to pick one word that describes the IOCDF conference, that’s the word I’d choose.  People from all walks of life will be sharing their OCD stories, and how they took their lives back from the disorder.  You’ll hear heartbreaking stories about their struggles to get the right diagnosis and to find the appropriate treatment, and heartwarming stories of how they were able to put their lives back together.  But most of all, you’ll hear that it IS possible to get your life back, and that there IS hope, and it’s hard to put a price on how valuable hope can be.

1. It can change your life.

It’s hard to overstate how much of a difference the IOCDF conference can make for people suffering from OCD and their friends and families.  For all the reasons above and many more, it can change the course of your life for the better.  My life would be completely different today had I not attended the conference three years ago.  (If you’d like to know more about why, you’ll have to come to “Is Fred in the Refrigerator?” on Saturday morning to find out!)  The conference only comes to Atlanta every 6-7 years, so don’t miss this opportunity to have a life-changing experience you will never forget.

To learn more, or to register for the conference, visit ocd2013.org.

You can learn more about Shala at www.shalanicely.com


  • Cheryl Callahan

    I attended last years conference as a parent of an OCD teenager. What a great resource this conference is. Not only did my daughter get exposed to kids just like herself but Mom gained a huge support network. I can’t recommend this conference enough!


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