Obsessive compulsive disorder - OCD treatment and therapy from NOCD

5 Ways NOCD Is Stepping Up for the OCD Community Through Therapist Training

By Peter Davis

Mar 15, 20246 minute read

NOCD was built by people who deeply understand the struggles and needs of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some of us had lived experience or were longtime advocates for the OCD community. Others had professionally treated OCD, and had seen the effects of it being mismanaged or going undiagnosed. All of us knew the real-life impact of effective, evidence-based treatment for OCD—and that millions of people were suffering because they couldn’t or didn’t know how to access it. So, we set out to build a solution, channeling our team’s passion into building a world-class OCD treatment experience.

We don’t believe in the hands-off approach that many virtual healthcare companies resort to as they grow—in fact, we’ve done the opposite. This continuous investment has helped us achieve a remarkable outcome: We’ve been able to significantly reduce NOCD Therapy members’ OCD symptoms while dramatically improving their quality of life.

A key area of investment contributing to this success is the training of our therapists. Before NOCD came into being, qualified OCD specialists were difficult to come by, resulting in high costs and lengthy waitlists. NOCD stepped up to fill this void—and we believe that cultivating transparency into what really works will allow the broader healthcare system to better serve everyone who needs help. It can also answer those considering therapy for OCD and wondering, “What makes NOCD different from other therapy providers?”

1. We take specialized training seriously—by providing it through NOCD rather than relying on external programs.

Shockingly, many therapists who claim specialization in OCD have no training outside of what they’ve learned in graduate school or during a weekend workshop. This makes them unprepared to treat people with a chronic, severe condition that requires a specialized approach: exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.

The historical shortage of quality OCD specialists is a gap that NOCD fills by heavily investing in developing an elite training program for every one of our therapists. Rather than requiring therapists to find and self-fund less extensive programs before joining NOCD, we take on the work internally and—importantly—ensure quality assurance by footing the bill. The quality of our training model, led by Patrick McGrath, Ph.D., has become noteworthy.

2. We make empathy a requirement, not a suggestion.

To be hired by NOCD and begin training to join the NOCD Network, therapists are required to pass a stringent interview process, conducted by both a NOCD hiring manager and NOCD clinical interviewer. In addition to certain qualifications they must possess, therapists are assessed on their ability to provide specialty care to people with OCD. If they appear to hold any biases against the OCD population, exhibit any stigma toward certain subtypes of OCD, or lack the empathy required to help people through challenging times, we respectfully part ways.

After a clinical interview is conducted and before an offer is extended, a clinical leader at NOCD, assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), retrospectively evaluates the interview as a “peer auditor.” This is done to ensure that only the most qualified therapists are joining the NOCD Network. Only after a therapist has passed these audits will NOCD extend an offer.

3. We carefully administer a 3-month intensive training program. 

Once a therapist has accepted an offer to join NOCD, they begin an intensive onboarding process. Our small-group lecture curriculum includes comprehensive training to understand every aspect of OCD, including its many subtypes. NOCD Therapists learn how to empathize with all therapy members, are trained to deliver treatment for anyone from childhood through adulthood, and even get training in supporting the families and parents of loved ones with OCD. They also receive cultural competency training, which requires a deep respect for the diverse identities, beliefs, and backgrounds of NOCD Members.

This is all, of course, in addition to expert-led training in ERP. Therapists learn how to effectively administer ERP, including hierarchy development, exposure techniques, response prevention strategies, and utilizing the NOCD platform for enhanced treatment delivery.

4. We teach therapists how to treat other conditions that impact the OCD community.

Our comprehensive approach allows therapists to address the complex needs of the OCD community. For one, therapists are equipped to assess and treat related conditions such as hoarding disorder, tic disorder, and body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) like hair pulling and skin picking.

Many people with OCD also struggle with certain co-occurring conditions, most commonly anxiety and depression. Often, treating OCD leads to a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, but for cases when this doesn’t happen, all NOCD Therapists also receive specialized training in Behavioral Activation (BA) for depression and behavioral treatments for anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder, social anxiety, and agoraphobia). They also have opportunities to receive additional training in other specialized therapies, such as Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy for PTSD or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

5. We evaluate training outcomes to ensure therapists retain their specialized knowledge.

Assessing therapists’ retention of the curriculum as well as their ability to apply their knowledge in clinical practice is a critical part of the NOCD training. After completing the initial training, to officially start treating people with OCD and related conditions, each NOCD Therapist must pass multiple exams through the Clinical Advising Meetings (CAMs) process.

As part of the month-long CAM process, prospective NOCD Therapists conduct mock sessions with NOCD’s clinical leadership team and answer questions on a variety of topics, from treating OCD to managing the virtual therapy process. If they pass our CAMs and further due diligence (a NOCD process accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)), only then do they begin working with NOCD Members.

Why continuous training is essential for NOCD therapists 

Everything we’ve outlined above highlights the training that therapists receive across the three months before they officially begin to see and treat NOCD Members. But make no mistake—this is only the beginning of their learning process at NOCD. All NOCD Therapists continue to engage in professional development and receive rigorous oversight and support while they are in practice.

There are a number of ways our therapists are supported in maintaining their clinical skills and deepening their clinical excellence. In addition to continuing education courses (CEs) that therapists have access to via the NOCD Academy platform, an online resource we’ve created, NOCD Therapists receive continuous consultation from our clinical leadership team, who share decades of experience treating OCD. Additionally, each therapist is paired with a clinical leader called a Clinical Operations Manager (COM)—ensuring a direct path to support if treatment situations become particularly difficult or ambiguous.

NOCD Therapists are also tapped into a broader support network of their own peers. This means that therapists can join weekly group office hours, attend live guest lectures by top OCD experts, and participate in group Q&A sessions.

Our commitment to you will only continue to grow

Our approach to quality clinical training is the bedrock that makes NOCD a trusted place for OCD treatment. As we look to the future, we stand unwavering in our determination to create a brighter, more compassionate behavioral health experience for all—a mission we know we can achieve.

If you or someone you know are in need of OCD treatment, please don’t hesitate to book a free 15-minute call with our team. On your call, we can answer any questions you may have and help match you with a licensed OCD specialist. We’re always here for you, and it is our goal and our privilege to help you in any way we can.

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