Group Success Story: The OCD Support Group in Fairfield, Connecticut

Good news for those dealing with OCD in Fairfield; the OCD Support Group is up and running with monthly meetings at First Church Congregational, United Church of Christ.

Those who attended the March (2005) meeting found that it lived up to its fundamental promise. I consulted my New American Oxford English Dictionary to understand the precise meaning of the word support.

Sitting at my kitchen table on a gray, snowy and blustery day with my cat Boots keeping watch over the newly arrived flock of robins scouring for food on the patches of exposed grass, I perused the definitions: Bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance; approve of and encourage; comfort and emotional help offered to someone in distress; a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright.

Among the many examples used to illustrate support, I found reference to the idea of technical computer support, but somewhat surprisingly, I did not find the term support group until I went on to the next term; support system, defined as a group of people who are available to support one another emotionally, socially and sometimes financially.

Therein lies the essence of what defines the value of any support group; it is certainly and importantly the people themselves, present for one another, bearing witness to one anothers struggles. But, it is also the whole network of support to which each of them is connected. Nature is doing this for the robins in my back yard – their system of foraging for food as a group makes it a much safer venture for an individual robin to succeed in its efforts (much to the dismay of Boots). There is a parallel for people with OCD participating in a support group.

Their undertakings can benefit from active participation in a social and institutional support system that can provide assistance of all types in coping with OCD. As the dictionary says, it is a thing that helps to keep them upright. It is really a wonderful metaphor for how an OCD support group and system helps individuals with OCD, keeping them upright and staunch in their struggles. The group that meets at First Church Congregational in Fairfield provides an excellent resource for individuals and families dealing with OCD.

Among the reactions of the individuals who attended the group, they noted how useful it is to find out how other people handle their OCD on a daily basis and how comforting it is to learn about other people dealing with the same issues and problems. Hearing about other people’s successes is very encouraging. The comfort that comes from recognizing one’s self in another human being was palpable in the group.

The support group also provides an opportunity to socialize, meet new people, and make new friends. Because social anxiety is the most common anxiety issue that accompanies OCD, the support group represents a wonderful therapeutic opportunity to tackle social fears in a very affirming environment.

Speaking of environment, we have been provided a great meeting space by Reverend John Baran, the pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Fairfield, CT (Our former meeting place from 2005-2009). The meeting room in the church basement is large, comfortable and well equipped. I personally love the green checkerboard floor tiles they transport me to wonderful memories of my elementary school years.

There is plenty of room to expand the number of people attending. Future events will include holding lectures and showing films and videos on all aspects of OCD.

How the group evolves will at least partly depend on who attends. As it stands, it is a professionally assisted group (Dr. Diane Sholomskas will also be helping). That is a feature that individuals said they appreciated.

The guidance of a professional can keep the group more focused and allow for constructive participation by all the members, be they individuals with OCD, families, or friends. Don’t forget it’s free! So all are invited to the next meeting scheduled on the third Friday of the month, 7:30-9:00 PM (except holidays and July & August) at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road in Fairfield.

Contact me at taylorc@sacredheart.edu if you would like further information.

Hope to see you at the next meeting!

For more information on the Fairfield County OCD Support Group, visit its website at http://fairfieldocdgroup.freehostia.com.

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Posted in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Comments Off on Group Success Story: The OCD Support Group in Fairfield, Connecticut
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