Friday, May 28, 2010

The OCD Project

So, there's ANOTHER tv show about OCD. It's The OCD Project, on VH1, but also available for viewing (in the US at least) at

Six people with a range of OCD "types" live in a house together for (I think) 3 weeks- Real World OCD!- and undergo intensive exposure therapy. I'm optimistic if a little skeptical. The therapist who they work with is David Tolin. He's well qualified, but he's also been on TV a lot lately, including being one of the therapists on A&E's Hoarders. Could have completely noble intentions, could like being on TV. Could be both.

The TV approach to OCD seems to rely on the extreme end of exposures. In the previews, the therapist is seen licking the bottom of a colleague's shoe, and there's the obligatory let's all climb in the dumpster scene, too. I'm uncertain whether it's because ultimately it's the best way to get results fast, or if it's because it attracts incredulous people to the TV.

Either way, I'll be watching. The previews also show the woman with contamination OCD letting her housemates put their hands on her face. I cried just watching it.


  1. The thought of a TV show dealing with real world contamination OCD appeals to me, as someone dealing with it. However, I have the same hesitations you do. People like ratings. Is it at the expense of the health of these individuals?

  2. yes, I just watched it, too. The therapist licking, got my attention. I suffer mild ocd. I do not know why the therapist is willing to lick that very dirty, imagine where the shoe has been... and he is ok with doing that. i do not understand it, i mean, what will the dirty do to his body after he licks? sore throat? huh?

    i cried when a single mom did not want her son to die. her son looks cute.


  3. I think for some people, dramatic exposures jump start them into tolerating their anxiety, and tv is exploiting this for all the drama they can get. But for people like me, my exposures would be really boring on tv. Choosing what to eat on a menu by flipping a coin instead of compulsively analyzing every choice--that does not make sensational tv. . .as for licking a shoe, I don't have contamination ocd, and find the thought disconcerting, BUT I know I inadvertently expose myself to the very same germs and don't even think about it. I pick up my shoes, put them on, and then eat breakfast, without washing my hands first. I pick up an object that has fallen on the floor, and forget I've even done it and then lick my finger to help me get a plastic bag open. If I stop to think about all the ways my world is contaminated, it's overwhelming,but most of the time it's not on my mind. Now this winter I dropped my scarf on the bathroom floor at work, and I did put it in the wash before wearing again, but I don't doubt I dropped it somewhere else just as "dirty" and didn't even think about it.