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The Better Behavior Show with Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Jan 15, 2020

My guest this week is Dr. Tamar Chansky, a licensed psychologist and founder of the Children's and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety in Plymouth Meeting, PA. She is the author of numerous books on the treatment of anxiety, including the popular Freeing Yourself from Anxiety Series: Freeing Your Child From Anxiety, Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking, and Freeing Your Child From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Dr. Chansky is the creator of the educational website: Her most recent book, Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want is for anyone suffering from everyday worry, an anxiety disorder or depression. 

In this episode, Dr. Chansky and I discuss how parents can distinguish symptoms, understand and address their children who may be or who are suffering from OCD. Children suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder vary in symptoms from outward obsessive actionable displays to internal incessant thoughts. OCD is often mistaken for anxiety-related symptoms. OCD treatment is possible and highly effective. To learn more about OCD treatments and Dr. Chansky click here.

Episode Highlights

What is OCD?

  • There are two components
  • Intrusive thoughts that you don’t want to be there
    • The brain isn’t sending the signal that something is finished
  • Compulsions – what a person does to try to quell that thought or get rid of that thought

Treating OCD

  • Depersonalize the content and separate from the content to feel more empowered that this is not something you need to think about
  • Exposure and ritual prevention is the treatment of choice and very highly effective
  • Relabel what’s going on, give a name to this process

How long does it take to treat?

  • Some progress can be made within the first month
  • On average, treatment can last 4-6 months

Why reassuring kids with OCD doesn’t work

  • That attempt to soothe actually can add fuel to the fire by teaching a kid or teaching their brain that these are serious thoughts that they need to pay attention to instead of teaching the kid that these are not serious thoughts

Why do kids develop OCD?

  • There is a genetic component
  • To put it simply, the brain is in overdrive


  • 1/3 of kids with OCD tend to have PANS or PANDAS
  • If you see a very obvious and sudden onset of OCD symptoms, testing for PANS and PANDAS is a good first step

Where can people learn more?

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