As we get closer to next month’s 20th Annual OCD Conference in Atlanta, we’ll be highlighting some of the new and exciting programs we are offering this year. First up, the new experiential kids workshop for kids and teens: A Weekend Adventure of Kicking OCD’s Butt, Part 1 and 2.
This workshop was originally created to offer a kids activity modeled on the always popular Virtual Camping workshop held on Friday evening.
To tell you more about this fun new program, we asked workshop leaders Rachel Busman, PsyD, and Jerry Bubrick, PhD, from the Child Mind Institute, to answer some frequently asked questions from parents about Kicking OCD’s Butt.
What is A Weekend Adventure of Kicking OCD’s Butt! all about?
It is an experiential workshop for kids 7 and older who are learning to manage OCD and anxiety-related symptoms. By “experiential” we mean that kids won’t just be learning from handouts and instruction, but will be getting hands-on, practical and applied experience that makes sense in their context. It will be specifically tailored for their age.
Can a sibling attend?
Yes! Siblings are welcome to attend. Family support is important, and siblings are essential to the process. Any sibling age 7 and older is welcome to come and participate in learning so that they can help their brother and/or sister.
Should I attend?
Parents are invited to attend the first 30 minutes of the Friday night activity to learn about what we will be doing, and help their children get comfortable with the program.
Parents are welcome to stay for the rest of the workshop if they would like to, but the program has mainly been designed as a kids-only experience where we’ll spend Friday and Saturday learning about OCD, anxiety, and exposure. We have found that kids often have a richer experience when the participants are all kids working together.
How are Friday and Saturday different? Can I come just one day?
Ideally, kids would attend both, since on Friday we will take time to make introductions, and participants will have a chance to meet other kids with OCD. We will also talk about how anxiety works and we will start kicking OCD’s butt. Saturday will be different in that it will be more exposure-based, meaning kids will get practical, hands-on experience facing their OCD fears.
Where will you be during the workshop?
Our assigned conference room will be “home base,” but we will be taking kids around the hotel as well. This will help kids practice their new skills in different situations. However, we will not leave the hotel premises.
What kinds of activities will my child be participating in?
We will be doing a lot of symptom-related games that get children comfortable talking about OCD and help develop new coping skills. The core of the program, though, will be exposure. Exposures entail encouraging children to face their fears related to symptoms. This may mean getting germy, talking about getting sick, or going to the hotel bathroom and touching a sink. The wonderful thing about group-based activities is that there are others who have similar concerns. Doing these exposures together will help children see that others share similar concerns, and they can learn how to apply the skills to their own symptoms.
Who will be leading the workshop?
Jerry Bubrick, PhD, and Rachel Busman, PsyD, will lead the workshop. We will also have a team that specializes in pediatric anxiety treatment and other skilled staff to help where needed.
What kinds of things will my child learn?
We will be learning about OCD, anxiety, and exposure. Your child is likely to gain a better understanding of what is going on when OCD starts nagging and learn what to do in those situations. Your child will also take part in exposures, which will be a carefully controlled and monitored hands-on experience for her/him to interact directly with whatever causes his/her anxiety. This will help teach your child that he/she can do it and that he/she has the ability to overcome OCD-related fears! Lastly, the group format will help show children that they are not alone and that others share similar fears. This has been shown to have a positive impact on self-esteem and confidence in the ability to overcome symptoms.
Does it matter how much previous treatment my child has had?
This is an introductory workshop, so extensive prior OCD treatment/education is certainly not necessary. In fact, it is our belief that children at all treatment levels can benefit from the skills that will be developed during this workshop.
My child has never been in group therapy – is that a problem?
Not at all! We expect most of our participants to never have had group therapy, and this program is designed to be appropriate for children without that experience.
Are there any other requirements? For example, do we need to be registered for the conference for my child to attend? And does my child have to be diagnosed with OCD?
Yes, you and your child do need to be registered for the conference to attend this workshop. (Register here.)
It is not necessary for your child to have an official diagnosis of OCD to attend this workshop. Any child who has anxiety symptoms and may benefit from this kind of skill building is welcome to attend. We would suggest, however, that you first become familiar with the purpose, goals, and procedures of the workshop to make sure that they are appropriate for your child’s concerns.
A Weekend Adventure of Kicking OCD’s Butt!
July 19th–20th, 2013 at the The International OCD Foundation’s 20th Annual OCD Conference in Atlanta
Jerry Bubrick, PhD, & Rachel Busman, PsyD
Child Mind Institute
A Weekend Adventure of Kicking OCD’s Butt is a two-part workshop for children 7 years and older. Participants will get hands-on experience through fun, interactive games and activities that encourage learning about OCD, developing new symptom management skills, and tackling exposures that allow kids to face their fears. The format will be a group program in which children can learn, help, and support each other in kicking OCD’s butt!
If you have any other questions about the workshop, feel free to ask them in the comments below, and Dr. Busman will be answering questions throughout the day. You can also email her directly at Rachel.Busman@childmind.org.