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My 19 year old daughter fears contamination. Recently she wanted to stay home to avoid public transport. At my encouragement (insistance) she plucked up the courage to do it but was extremely anxious (teary and all). Did I do the wrong thing?

No - although extremely

No - although extremely unpleasant the feelings of anxiety your daughter experienced are not harmful, but are in fact essential if she is ever to recover from her contamination fears. Treatment for contamination fears actually involves exposure, which simply means facing the thing you fear. Then the more you do it the easier it gets.

However, this exercise may not have been helpful for her recovery if she is doing rituals. Rituals are any behaviors done repeatedly to relive the distress. This could include washing, repeated reassurance or special prayers said over and over again.

The best help for her is exposure and response prevention (EX/RP), a form of therapy for helping people with OCD. Learn more about it at http://www.neuroticplanet.com/ocd-therapy.php

Dr. Williams

Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist specializing in OCD

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