BOSTON, July 23, 2015 — More than 1,500 advocates and mental health experts are expected to attend the 22nd Annual OCD Conference taking place from Friday, July 31 through Sunday, August 2, 2015, at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District, hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), and presented by McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute.
This is not a conference about hand sanitizer or fist-bumps or tweeting about being #soOCD.
This is a conference for the millions of Americans who deal with obsessive compulsive disorder, a severe yet oft-misunderstood disorder of the mind. OCD affects 1 in 100 adults around the world, and can result in crippling anxiety and doubt. But with the right treatment from therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention and sometimes medication, it can get better.
Unlike many health conferences, this unique event offers resources for individuals with OCD and their family members to learn about the latest in research and treatment alongside the mental health professionals who treat the disorder. The Conference features more than 100 presentations, workshops and seminars, as well as more than two-dozen support groups, evening activities and other networking events.
“This Conference serves as a great opportunity for everyone affected by OCD to learn more about the disorder,” says Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the IOCDF. “OCD is often misunderstood or overlooked, so this is an excellent chance for people to get connected to new and exciting resources, research and a strong community that understands and relates to your experiences.”
“The IOCDF conference provides an incredible opportunity to access an abundance of resources in one place,” said Diane Davey, RN, MBA, program director of McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute. “It also provides a safe place to learn and share knowledge about OCD, and to meet other people who understand the disorder without fear of stigma.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s conference showcase new, innovative approaches to treating OCD. The “Louder than OCD Cabaret,” one of the opening events of the Conference, features IOCDF spokesperson and Argentinian pop star, Ro Vitale, performing and leading a music therapy workshop.
“Music heals in the most amazing and unexpected ways,” says Vitale. “As a musician and teacher, I have seen the amazing outcomes of using this tool, and I can’t wait to accompany attendees in their creative process.”
This year’s keynote address, to be delivered by former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk, is another conference highlight. A longtime OCD-sufferer, Malarchuk is perhaps best known for having his carotid artery slashed by a skate during a 1989 NHL game — an injury that caused him to nearly bleed to death on the ice. Malarchuk, and his wife, Joanie, will discuss his struggles with OCD, depression, and PTSD, and their newfound roles as advocates for mental health.
The IOCDF will also honor individuals in the OCD and related disorders community who go above and beyond in their work. David Adam, an editor for the science journal Nature and author of the 2014 book, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, will receive the IOCDF Illumination Award, an accolade given annually to media personalities and other influencers whose work accurately and respectfully represents OCD and related disorders in an effort to raise awareness and understanding.
Other honorees recognized throughout the Conference weekend include James Claiborn, PhD, receiving the Outstanding Service Award, John Greist, MD, receiving the Outstanding Career Achievement Award, and Chris Trondsen and Kevin Putman, both receiving the Hero Award for their advocacy work.
For more information, including a full Conference schedule and details on how to register to attend, visit ocd2015.org.
About the IOCDF
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization, working to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in 22 states and territories, as well as 9 Global Partners. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986. Now in its 29th year, the organization has an over $1.5 million annual operating budget, has granted millions of dollars for OCD research, and is a vital resource for the estimated 1 in 100 individuals with OCD around the world. For more information, visit http://iocdf.org.
About McLean Hospital
McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a member of Partners HealthCare. For more information about McLean, visit www.mclean.harvard.edu or follow the hospital on Facebook or Twitter.
Director of Communications & Marketing, International OCD Foundation
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