The Therapists and Trainees with OCD and Related Disorders Special Interest Group was started in 2015, with the goal of developing a community of mental health providers who have a shared understanding of the unique challenges that may be present when working within the mental health/medical field while carrying your own personal experiences (current or past) with OCD/OC Spectrum disorders. The passion and purpose that can be derived from lived experience, when combined with appropriate clinical training can be an asset - driving motivation, compassion, and a shared understanding. Unfortunately, the subtle impacts of fear and stigma can result in hesitation for mental health providers to seek necessary consultation, guidance, or even personal treatment, for fear of colleagues, supervisors, or the community they serve finding out and resulting in potential clinical and career implications. We aim to provide a safe and confidential place for consultation and mentorship, connecting a community of mental health providers and trainees (who are currently completing their graduate training) with shared lived experiences. Through the SIGs online forum, monthly support meetings, and yearly conference gatherings, we address topics such as stigma in the mental health field, identifying/navigating professional challenges, balancing advocacy/clinical work/research, and how to use self-disclosure/lived experience effectively (without interfering with best practices). Additionally, the SIG serves as a place to share resources, insights, and lessons learned while seeking to challenge stigma around mental health experiences within the medical/behavioral health field in a purposeful and planned way.
Hannah Breckenridge, LCSW-C, Clinical Social Worker & Advocate