The treatment of children with OCD with the AFOP method
How does being a child influence an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment?
In reality the symptoms, causes, and consequences in their daily life are very similar to those of an adult, but with the advantage that the disorder has had a shorter course of development. This facilitates the analysis of the factors that led the OCD to develop. Furthermore we are dealing with a person who hasn’t fully developed yet, which causes their brain to be way more plastic than the brain of adult. Moreover, time didn’t get a grip on the disorder yet so it hasn’t become chronic yet, nor has been fully installed in their personality.
What is important though is that a child still depends greatly on their parents, and in part on their educational institute and society. They have the plasticity but not the maturity nor the independence to be able to deal with the causes of their OCD on their own, most likely causes that they are not even aware of, nor able to understand.
Why do I say this?
Because in order to successfully apply the AFOP method with a minor, an absolute commitment of the family is required. Most likely it will be necessary for us to apply structural changes in the family in order improve its system, its shared values and its rules.
We will work together in order to recuperate the child’s mental health and cure their OCD. In order to reach this important goal we need the engagement of their close environment and a psychologist who is specialized in helping children to overcome OCD.
What does the therapy consist of?
The therapy starts with the Evaluation Phase, in which we interview both the child and their parents, together and separately. We obtain a profound anamnesis from the moment the child was conceived until the present, while gathering and analyzing information about what happened throughout his development, both with the child as well as with their close environment.
We will assess the child’s behavior, the way they express themselves, their ideas, their experiences, and their likes and dislikes. We will dive deep into this analysis with the help of the child and their parents in order to discover the elements that caused the child’s disorder.
Debriefing and analysis of the problem. Once we’ve assessed all these matters and we’ve analyzed the causes of the child’s OCD, we will transmit this information in a clear matter to both the parents and the child. We will explain what is causing the OCD and what the different sources of anxiety in the child are.
Treatment Phase. When we start the treatment we directly start working with both the parents and the child, and we will propose a series of changes and activities to be applied into the child’s life.
These will be manageable but very necessary changes which will help the child to break free from their blocked central nervous system and mind and to activate those parts of their personality that might have gotten inhibited or trapped by the fear. These changes will be a parallel part of the treatment together with the sessions. We will work with the imagination of the child, we will engage in symbolic play, work on healthy and strong relationships in the family, and help them to develop in way that is natural and true to their nature.
The purpose of the treatment is to cure OCD and not simply manage its symptoms.