I know first hand how difficult it can be to be a caregiver of someone struggling with OCD. However, I also know how inspiring it can be to watch my child get the proper help and be able to now live a meaningful life managing her OCD. As a caregiver for someone with OCD we want to help our loved one’s the best we know how. Sometimes however we may enable versus help. It is so important for you to understand what OCD is, what CBT is and the proper ways for you to help your loved ones fight the OCD versus giving into it. Remember to take care of yourself. Having a loved one with a mental illness can be difficult so you must set aside time for yourself, otherwise it will be hard for you to be supportive if you are burnt out. Below you will find a series of video podcasts and other resources that will help you as you help your loved one battle Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

-Linda McIngvale


For Caregivers

By Cali Werner, LMSW


As an individual that has struggled with OCD for the majority of my life, I understand that this disorder takes a huge toll on the entire family/ support system. Family members hate to see their loved ones struggling and often will do whatever they can to make their loved one feel better in that moment. Often times, although the intent is to help their loved one, they are further enabling the individual’s OCD.

Other times, family members may get so frustrated with their loved one’s OCD that they will purposefully create their own exposures for the sufferer. For example, someone struggling with contamination may avoid touching a sponge in the kitchen so their family member will throw the sponge at their hands to show them that it is not dangerous.  Although family members have their loved ones best interest at heart, this can be a traumatic experience for someone’s OCD and can make symptoms worse. Coming up with a plan with a qualified OCD provider to alleviate OCD accommodations (i.e. giving reassurance, cleaning, checking) is the best way to support your loved one to help them take control of their OCD.

-Cali Werner

First steps for caregivers:

  • Support your loved one in treatment
    • Avoid participating in rituals and reassurance (*Only make this change once agreed up in therapy/when your loved one is ready)
  • Communicate positively – Avoid criticism
    • It is important to remember that those suffering from OCD are not able to just “turn it off”. Often times, families have to be extremely patient when their loved one is engaging in onerous compulsions. However, most individuals struggling with OCD recognize that what they are doing is illogical and does not make sense but the urge to complete their rituals is so strong that they are unable to resist. Therefore, those with OCD are usually just as frustrated by their OCD as family members that are witnessing these behaviors.
  • Create a support system – Find a support group
    • Search for a support group you can attend with your loved one. Reach out to our foundation for a list of support groups in your area. Support groups can help to educate the family system on what day to day life looks like for someone with OCD. Additionally, your loved one will see that they are not alone by hearing about other individual’s personal journeys with OCD.
  • Find time for yourself
  • Spend time with your loved one that doesn’t revolve around OCD
    • Make it a point to have meaningful conversations with your loved one about their interests as well as about your own interests. This can be challenging for someone struggling with OCD but can be a good practice to help them be in the present moment.


Additional Resources:

For Siblings           Children with OCD               OCD Resources 

Anxiety in the Classroom


Related Articles:

Someone I Care About Is Not Dealing with Their OCD  

What Can I Do to help 

Living with Someone Who has OCD 



Videos: For Caregivers

Choose a title below to view related OCD videos

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., discusses the importance of receiving an evaluation from a specialized provider to identify if a loved one may be experiencing OCD.

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., discusses the most productive ways of encouraging loved ones to attend treatment for OCD.

Linda McIngvale defines reassurance in the context of children with OCD. She shares some tips on how to help a child seeking reassurance.

Laura McIngvale-Brown gives advice to the siblings of children with OCD.

Throstur Bjorgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, talks about how OCD not only impacts its sufferer, but the entire family.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, discusses how parents should help their child with OCD.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, talks about how to help a loved one with OCD.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, shares why a loved one can or should work with a person with OCD and their therapist.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, explains why parents should not accommodate their child's OCD and what to do instead.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD, helps family members of people with OCD understand what it's like to have OCD.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD, gives advice for how to work together as a family to help a family member with OCD.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD explains what a family member should not do in response to a family member with OCD and how to avoid it.

Dr. Aureen Wagner explains how naming OCD can help children reframe it as something external from themselves.

Aureen Wagner, PhD, explains to teachers and caregivers some signs that a child may have OCD and what they should do in response.

Aureen Wagner, PhD, shares some ways to help children, teenagers, and adults understand OCD.

Aureen Wagner, PhD, shares with parents how to support and help their child with OCD.

Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale gives examples of reassurance and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Learn more about how reassurance is categorized as a ritual. Often individuals with OCD will seek reassurance to feel better from an intrusive thought.

Dr. Storch shares an example of OCD treatment for children. He goes over explaining OCD, treatment, building a hierarchy, and relapse prevention and applying ERP tools in a way easy for children to understand.

Dr. Wagner encourages you to always be proactive during upcoming transitional periods with new routines and environments. She gives tips on​ how to continue treatment while off to college and how to navigate social activities.

Chris Baier and his children discuss the importance of involving all family members in the OCD treatment process.

Chris Baier talks about the evolution of ERP practices for his family.

Chris Baier and his children speak about the journey of learning how not to engage in accommodation.

Chris Baier talks about creating a support group for yourself. There is something different about finding someone to connect with that is going through the same thing.

Chris Baier talks about resources that were the most helpful to him as a parent.

Chris Baier talks about being creative about doing exposure with response prevention (ERP). ERP is very hard but how can you help turn exposures into something interesting for your child.

Dr. Aureen Wagner explains how Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects the entire family and why being apart of the treatment can help everyone.

Chris Baier and his children talk through more examples of how they engaged in family exposures.

Dr. Aureen Wagner explains how families are a vital part of a child's Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder treatment. Parents will need to learn to understand the best treatment for your child, make treatment a priority, and to collaborate with your child's provider.

Dr. Aureen Wagner discusses how parents are their child's best advocates. Learn what the school needs to know, who the best point person is, and what material to have ready.

Dr. Aureen Wagner explains how parents can find themselves burned out while helping try to help their child with OCD. Learn how giving yourself time to reenergize can help everyone.

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., discusses the challenges of being a trigger for a loved one’s OCD and how to support that individual.