ACT workbook for teens with OCD

About the book

This workbook is a guide to help you to choose how to live your life day-by-day and to learn skills that will help you to hang in there with those loud obsessions so you can do what truly matters to you.

In the first section, you will learn the basics about OCD and researched-based treatments, such as Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Next, you will be introduced to the “Choice Point”, a useful tool that will show you step-by-step how you get hooked on those obsessions and the costs of continuing to do the same thing over and over in your life. After learning about the price of living in safety country, as I call it, you will be invited to step back and check in with yourself about what you actually care about. In the rest of the book you will learn powerful skills to unhook from your obsessions, including values-guided exposure exercises, so that you can move forward with the stuff that is important to you.

Message for teens


Every day you wake up, so does your mind. And with it, the annoying, uninvited, and unsolicited obsessions wake up too. You’re not alone! Many teenagers wrestle with those obsessions; they vary from being kind of bothersome to really disturbing, and they can boss you around, up and down, left to right, and back and forth.

These obsessions come along with an automatic rush of fear and discomfort, and an unpleasant feeling that can push you to do all sorts of things that take you far away from the stuff that really matters to you.

I know it would be nice to have a switch that you can just flick and make the obsessions go away so that you can relax, be stress-free, and have nothing to worry about, but sadly it doesn’t work like that. Wherever you are, your mind is there with you, and the obsessions come along with it. But—and it’s a big but—those pesky obsessions don’t have to rule what you do with your life!

In fact, the obsessions are not the problem; it’s only when you put on your running shoes so you can run to Escape City, or buy tickets to Compulsion City, or stop doing what’s important and meaningful in your life, that things get rocky.


This book is a gamechanger! I have put it on my “must-read” list for my teen clients, their parents, and for any therapist working with individuals with OCD. This gem of a book is engaging, easy-to-read, and contains essential research-based tools to help teens recognize how to use their own strength, values, and their power of choice as weapons against the pain and suffering caused by OCD. I love that it can be used by teens and their families on its own or as a companion guide to use with a therapist.

Allison Solomon, Psy.D

Founder of The Virtual Center for Anxiety and OCD

This book should be on every OCD Therapist’s shelf!

This workbook is such a wonderful addition to anyone trying to help a teen with OCD. It provides a simple and engaging way to view OCD and offers concrete ways to work on it. It is definitely a book I will be recommending!

Natasha Daniels LCSW

Author of Anxiety Sucks: A Teen Survival Guide

Dear Parent or Caregiver,


How many times have you thought, “It’s exhausting dealing with OCD” and wondered, “How did this happen?” How many times have you felt like screaming because your teen is asking you to do something for him over and over? How many times have you struggled because of an OCD episode at home?  How many times has your mind told you, “It’s my fault?”

If your teen is dealing with OCD, or you suspect that’s the case, I know that it’s not easy for you and it’s not easy for your teen. It’s not your fault and it’s not your teen’s fault either. This workbook will help your teen to learn how to handle those pesky obsessions and move forward in life!   

 The chapters in this book are focused on specific research-based skills: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). These skills will help your teen to catch those obsessions, hang in there with the fear that comes with them, and choose how to continue moving forward with what matters in their day-to-day life.

This workbook is about encouraging your teen to choose when to face his fears, how to do it, and ultimately, how to handle fear, anxiety, and discomfort as part of life. And as I encourage your teen to choose, I encourage you to do the same: remember your values as a parent and choosehow to enjoy the sweet moments that come along with parenting your teen!


What’s inside?

Chapter: the basics of OCD

Chapter: the basics of treatment and this workbook

Chapter: why do I have to deal with OCD?

Chapter: why do I have to deal with fear?

Chapter: getting to know your OCD

Chapter: getting familiar with the choice point!

Chapter: unwanted annoying thoughts

Chapter: unsolicited bizzare images

Chapter: uninvited urges

Chapter: buying tickets to compulsion city!

Chapter: running as fast as you can to avoidance city!

Chapter: asking for accomodations

Chapter: checking the costs of getting hooked

Chapter: choosing the stuff you care about!

Chapter: doing the stuff you care about!

Chapter: Checking your fightonometer when doing  stuff you care about 




Super-cool illustrations

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

online education

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


"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."

“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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