My name is Jeff Bell, and I’d like to invite you to my upcoming family reunion.
Okay, it’s not really my gathering. And technically, I suppose, it’s not really a family reunion. But this is how I’ve come to think of the IOCDF’s annual conferences—as yearly opportunities to get together with fellow members of a truly remarkable, always empowering “OCD family” that continues to grow year after year.
Before I tell you more about this big event and why I think you should join me there, allow me to share a bit about the diverse group of family members it will bring together.
Some of us are individuals living with OCD and related disorders. Others are loved ones of people with these challenges. Still others are therapists, researchers, educators, and advocates. We come from cities, big and small, across the U.S. and, increasingly, from countries around the world. Some of us have known each other for decades; others are brand new to our circle. On the surface, it might appear that we have little in common.
But each summer—except for those during the worst of a pandemic!—we come together for several life-changing days with one common agenda: OCD education and support.
The mental health professionals in our family are an impressive bunch, to be sure. They include some of the world’s leading OCD researchers and clinicians; and, of course, their presentations are a big part of the educational offerings at our annual get-togethers.
But here’s the thing about an IOCDF conference: The professionals are not the only presenters sharing insights and information about OCD and related disorders. Individuals with lived experience and their families also lead all kinds of presentations, imparting invaluable lessons from their stories and educating even established experts who are looking to learn.
As for the personal support you’ll find at these gatherings, it too flows in all directions and is widely available. Whether through workshops, in support groups, or even at the conference dance party, opportunities to make meaningful, supportive connections are everywhere, and once made, these connections bind with the strength of, well, family ties!
Why This Matters to Me
If I sound a little biased when it comes to the IOCDF and its annual conferences, I confess I am.
Decades ago, this organization saved me from the depths of untreated OCD and helped me turn my life around. Later, I had the privilege of serving as a board member and national spokesperson for the IOCDF and got to see firsthand just how many lives it helps rescue year after year. For all of this, I am eternally grateful.
As for the IOCDF’s annual conferences, I have been to 14 now, and each and every one has enhanced my life—and ongoing recovery—in powerful ways. The friendships I have made through them are among the most meaningful and enduring I’ve ever known.
So, it’s from this place of conviction and gratitude that I want to invite you to join me in San Francisco, the greatest city in the world—another bias; I’m a native!—for the 28th Annual OCD Conference, July 7-9.
This family reunion just won’t be complete without you!
Find more information on the IOCDF's Annual OCD Conference here.