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ACT workbook for adults with OCD

How is this workbook organized?

Section 1 gives you the basics of what OCD is, what maintains it, how your brain works, and the different forms of obsession.

Section 2 goes into the details of what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is, how it blends with Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and how it will help you to overcome OCD episodes.

Section 3 is where you identify two things: (1) all the compulsions and avoidant behaviors that are fueling into OCD episodes. And (2) all the ruling-thoughts about obsessions, anxiety, or thinking strategies you’re holding onto with white knuckles, taking as absolute truth, and without checking whether they’re helpful or not in your life.

Section 4 asks you to assess how compulsions, avoidant behaviors and holding onto those ruling-thoughts are working in your life, the relationship with yourself, and asks you to check, what you really have control of when dealing with annoying obsessions.

Section 5 gives you all the tips you need to create a new relationship with your mind; but one in which you’re not bossed around by it, take it too seriously, and blindly follows what it says. In this section you will learn how to date your mind, for real and for good!

Section 6 teaches you specific ACT skills to handle obsessions, as they come, and the anxiety, panic, or fear that comes along. You will learn a bunch of defusion skills, acceptance prompts, and tips to ride the wave of overwhelming emotions.

Section 7 asks you to go in-depth on discovering your values, HOW you want to show up in different areas in your life, and what steps you can take, wherever you are, to put your values in action.

Section 8 guides you through the process of values-based exposures: how to use your values as a guide, how to prepare for them, and what to expect when doing them. The chapter “making W.I.S.E M.O.V.E.S.” teaches you what to do when facing a situation, object, activity, or people that the pattern-making machine of your brain associates with obsessions. The section finishes with a chapter on how to handle compulsions and different ways to do so.

Section 9 prepares you to handle potential blocks that may come your way: values-conflict, reason-giving thoughts, lack of values clarity, and doing exposures as a compulsion.

Section 10 guides you with how to move forward with your life by facing obsessions as they come, upsetting situations as they happen, and overwhelming emotions as they roll. 

Message for readers

 

Let me start by saying that I run out of space in this project. I didn’t want to e-mail my publishers negotiating numbers of words and becoming a headache for them. So, I only have a few words for you:

In this workbook, you won’t read academic theories, long statistics, or one-size-fits-all advice.

While this workbook is based on solid scientific-ground, you will find few, very few, nerdy comments. I did my best to write something that is uncomplicated, unpretentious, and as real as it gets.

You will get real guidance, real skills, real how-tos, and real takeaways to keep and share with others about overcoming OCD episodes and getting your life back on track!

Hope you make all the skills of this workbook yours and most importantly, I urge you to do something with them that matters to you!

Okay, let’s dig in!

Dr. Z.

 

Dr. Z. has been treating OCD for many years, and passionately too. Her interest in OCD keeps her approach to treating it fresh. Merging the tried and tested, with the new. In her new book, she demonstrates how ERP and ACT can work together to tackle OCD and how readers can make a shift from reactive moves to wise moves. With many exercises to help the reader understand and apply these skills. Thank you, Dr. Z., for your dedication and service to the OCD community!

Stuart Ralph

The OCD Stories

This is much more than a workbook: it’s an engaging and informative travel guide for the journey to OCD recovery. A passionate expert in OCD, Dr. Z is your wise and caring companion, offering step-by-step guidance for how to make choices that put you, not OCD, in the driver’s seat. Her tips, tools, and insights provide not only a roadmap to recovery, but also a process for enjoying the journey—and your life—along the way.

Shala Nicely, LPC

Author, Is Fred in the Refrigerator? Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life

This is a very helpful book for anyone who has been struggling with obsessive-compulsive tendencies and who is sick and tired of allowing them to hold them back from the life they really want to live. This workbook will help you identify what truly matters to you and start you moving in those directions with determination and kindness toward yourself.

Dr. Z uses her extensive clinical experiences, knowledge and skills to offer you many practical examples and exercises that can truly make a difference in your life. Through different chapters, readers will gain an understanding of how obsessions became a problem, learn to watch their mind, recognize ruling-thoughts, clarify values, and take actions towards values-based exercises. Dr. Z wrote this book with a compassionate heart and open mind in a non-technical, clear, concise, and personable style that makes it easy to work with it. I recommend this book wholeheartedly and without any reservations.

Georg H. Eifert, PhD

Chapman University Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Co-Author of Anxiety Happens and the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety

Who is this workbook for?

 

If you are newly diagnosed with OCD or suspect having OCD, this workbook offers you with hands-on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) skills for taming those disturbing obsessions and filling the gap where you are and where you want to go.

If you have received treatment for OCD and are in the post-treatment phase, this book is a refresher of your skills and adds ACT skills to help you to move forward.

What’s inside this workbook?

Chapter: Obsessions are the norm!

Chapter: If obsessions are the norm, what about OCD?

Chapter: What keeps OCD going?

Chapter: Why are obsessions so hard to let go?

Chapter: Are there different types of OCD?

Chapter: What is this thing called “ACT?”

Chapter: What about ACT and Exposure?

Chapter: What lies ahead?

Chapter: What are the compulsions you’re doing?

Chapter: Don’t forget about avoidant behaviors!

Chapter: Do you know ruling-thoughts?

Chapter: How do your C’s, A’s, and R’s work together?

Chapter: How are you relating to yourself these days?

Chapter: What’s really in your control?

Chapter: What about dropping those “getting rid of obsessions” strategies?

Chapter: Let your mind do its own minding

Forms

Illustrations

Worksheets

Chapters

Pages

Sections

About Dr. Z.

Patricia E. Zurita Ona, Psy.D., “Dr. Z,” is a clinical psychologist specialized in working with children, adolescents, and adults struggling with OCD, anxiety, and emotion regulation problems.

Dr. Z is the founder of the East Bay Behavior Therapy Center, a boutique therapy practice, where she runs an intensive outpatient program integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) to support clients getting stuck from obsessions, figure out what they care about, and do stuff that matters to them.

Dr. Z. is a Fellow from the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), member of the OCD San Francisco Bay Area (affiliate from the International OCD Foundation), and a chair of committee for the Anxiety and Depression American Association (ADAA).

Intensive Outpatient Program

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Our intensive program will teach you all skills you need to get unstuck from worries, fears, anxieties, and obsessions and get back into your life.

You can learn cutting-edge skills 1-1, in a personalized program, with a flexible schedule, and under the care of expert hands.

Online courses

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) skills for
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD

Obsessions + compulsions + avoidance = restricted life

I'm afraid of hitting someone in the street if I don't pay attention when driving. I cannot let go of this awful feeling that comes when I don't share everything with some people. If I don't hear from others that I didn't do anything cruel to my kitty, I cannot leave the house. Would I feel love when I die? 

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Why our clients love working with us

testimonials

"I am very grateful for finding Dr Zurita. She is responsible for teaching my son skills that have changed his life socially and enabled him to leave home and attend an out-of-state university. This was the dream of a lifetime for him and it would not have been possible without her help. Her guidance has also made it possible for him to live a much richer life, full of experiences he would have never considered, prior to his time meeting with Dr. Zurita.

I encourage parents to start this process much sooner, if they sense their child is having difficulty at a social level. Had I understood what he has been going through all of these years, I would have started the process much earlier, so that his prior social experiences and especially those in school, would have been much fuller ....

"Working with Patricia Zurita Ona has changed and saved my life. I have struggled off and on for years with sever anxiety disorder and OCD . I have been to therapy throughout the years and have found some helpful but nothing really got to the core of the problem. I often felt crazy and that my incredible fear and my phobias would remain with me thorough my life, I would not drive on the freeway, eat certain things and had constant catastrophic thinking, thus creating a lot of depression.

I needed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I saw advertised on many therapists’ websites. When I would call most of them they said they offered it and specialized with Anxiety Disorder/ OCD which was not the case. I had felt alone, hopeless and frustrated for the past 9 years. Never feeling like I was getting the help I needed. It was not until I started meeting with Patricia that I actually started to feel better and feel as if I had control over my life and started to live again ...

“Patricia and her team have completely changed my life! I cannot express my gratitude enough.

She helped me craft values and goals I wanted to have in my relationships, and walked me through each step of how to get there. Her methods are simple, manageable, and make sense when you are upset. I’ve been to therapists who have told me to take deep breaths, visualize calming colors, rip paper, go for a walk or scream in to a pillow when im angry. But in the moment, when im soooo angry, none of these world work. I would forget to do them, or I would already be so angry, that they were ineffective to help me calm down. Patricia’s methods are not only EXTREMELY effective, but they are easy to do, they make sense in the moment, and they bring about radical change when you apply them ...

 

“I do not know how it reflects on my credibility should I happen to brag about being a seasoned vet when it comes to therapists and mental wellness pursuits. Regardless, I am. And on top of that, I also happen to be a health care practitioner myself. This means, for the purposes of a review, that when I walk into a new Doctor’s office, there is an additional dimension of critiquing for me to process. I would never willingly put myself under the guidance and care of a Doctor who did not 1) Impress me as a capable and honest caregiver and 2) Impress me as a professional colleague.

– Empathy
– Knowledge
– Professionalism
– Respect

I think that these are the basic bulletpoints that strike me when I consider why I think so highly of Patricia. Dr. Zurita takes NOTHING more seriously than the pursuit of her profession. Except possibly you, the patient.

Some therapists really care.

Other therapists are extremely knowledgeable.

Very few therapists are both. Patricia Zurita Ona is one of those very few.”

"I have referred several of my most challenging patients to Dr. Patricia Zurita-Ona, and been extremely impressed both with her clinical skills and humanity. I recommend her most highly. John Melbourne McGraw, M.D. melmcgraw.net."

“Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona truly cares about her clients. Behavior therapy with her has benefited myself and my husband regarding my obsessive compulsive behavior. She has a gentle and kind approach and I would recommend her to others.”

“I was referred to Patricia Zurita Ona from my son’s psychiatrist for cognitive behavioral therapy treatment of his obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd) and anxiety which rose to a level which was out of control. Dr. Zurita Ona is very skilled at working with teens who suffer from anxiety, especially related to academic success and test anxiety. She helped my son learn coping mechanisms and stress reducing strategies to control his level of anxiety. Dr. Zurita Ona introduced my son to a great stress relieving app which involves deep breathing and meditation. She has an amazing ability to connect with teens and get them to open up about their struggles, create realistic plans of attack and create goals so they can lead joyful lives and not be so burdened with their stress. We saw her weekly for about 1-2 years and my son’s sessions with her were very beneficial to not only him, but our entire family as his stress was causing tension for us all. Dr. Zurita Ona explained to me why my son had certain behaviors and ways to help him learn new strategies to cope with his anxiety. If you have a teen who needs help to learn how to manage and control stress and anxiety, schedule a session with Dr. Zurita Ona! I highly recommend her services!”

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