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June 10, 2024 14 mins
Anxiety and OCD therapist Natasha Daniels joins us with a new workbook just in time for summer break! CRUSHING OCD WORKBOOK FOR KIDS: 50 Fun Activities to Overcome OCD with CBT and Exposures. Natasha Daniels is an anxiety and OCD child therapist and has published five other books including How to Parent your Anxious Toddler and It’s Brave to Be Kind. For more, visit ATparentingsurvival.com.
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(00:02):
Welcome to Get Connected with Nina delRio, a weekly conversation about fitness,
health and happenings in our community onone oh six point seven Light FM.
Good morning, and thanks for listeningto get connected. Here's a startling statistic.
One out of every two hundred kidswill suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder or

(00:23):
OCD. It's roughly the same numberas those kids with juvenile diabetes, but
unlike juvenile diabetes, it can takeup to seventeen years to receive an OCD
diagnosis, so most kids will gotheir entire childhood without proper treatment. Our
guest is anxiety and OCD therapist NatashaDaniels, with a new OCD workbook just
in time for summer break, CrushingOCD Workbook for Kids, Fifty fun activities

(00:47):
to overcome OCD with CBT and exposures. Thank you for being on the show,
Natasha, Yeah, thanks for havingme. I really appreciate it.
Natasha Daniels is an anxiety and OCDchild therapist who's published five other books in
How to Parents Are Anxious, Toddlerand It's Brave to Be Kind. You
can find more about her at atParentingsurvival dot com. It seems as if

(01:10):
OCD NATASHA is so much more common, why does it take then so long
for parents to get a diagnosis ofOCD for their kid. Yeah, it's
really frustrating. I think part ofit is they can show up in so
many different ways that is not talkedabout, so it's missed on the paranal
level, and then mental health professionalsare not always trained or skilled at noticing

(01:32):
it, and so it gets missedeven in the therapy office. So they
might see that something is peculiar aboutthis child or different about this child.
What would be the misdiagnosis. Theymight think it's anxiety, They might think
it's ADHD or add like they can'tfocus or they can't attend because they're having
intrusive thoughts and so they look likethey're spacing out. Those are the two

(01:55):
most common ones that are a struggle. So what's the difference between ADHD in
OCD? A lot like physiologically,OCD is in the basal ganglia and it's
having an intrusive thought and the needto do something to get that brief relief,
so the need to do a compulsion, where ADHD is completely different.
Disorder where your mind is going inthe middle of directions. It's hard to

(02:21):
attend, it's hard to focus,but it's not like you're having these really
upsetting thoughts that are causing you thatdistress. You describe OCD in actually one
of the first activities in the bookis like getting ideas stuck in a filter.
Right, So what is also thedifference between OCD and anxiety? These
often get paired together although they arecompletely different disorders. Anxiety is like an

(02:45):
overreact of amygdala. It's you're overlyanxious about situations that maybe other people wouldn't
see as an anxiety producing situation orevent. Where OCD is getting stuck and
so it's like a you're stuff inthe mechanisms of your brain. It can't
move on. So you have thatintrusive thought and then it's bossy, you

(03:06):
need to do something. It kindof sells you on the fact that if
you just do this, you're goingto get relief, and so you're doing
these compulsions anticipating relief and you neverget it. It grows bigger. So
to give some clarity what might besomething that's helpful for anxiety but would make
OCD worse. So for anxiety,it's really helpful to reframe kind of distortion,

(03:28):
so to reframe the thought around theanxious situation. And when you do
that with OCD, it falls completelyflat because OCD is irrational. People who
have OCD know that it doesn't makesense that they're checking the lock for the
eighth time because they've watched them doit, but they can't stop themselves,
and so rationalizing doesn't help where itreally does help with with anxiety. So

(03:53):
let's get to the book. Itis Crushing OCD Workbook for Kids, Fifty
fun activities to overcome OCD with CBTand exposures. We'll talk about exposures.
What is CBT. A CBT iscognitive behavioral therapy, and there's a type
of CBT called ERP Exposure response preventionthat is the go to therapy approach for

(04:15):
OCD. We'll break that down alittle bit in just a minute. But
what kind of activities are in thebook? So the book is designed actually
to be worked in order. Howdo they build on each other? The
activities in the book the fifty Yeah, they're building blocks And I'm glad you
said that because it does need tobe in order and it's kind of like
building a foundation of what is OCD, how does the brain work, what
are your particular themes around OCD,what are your particular compulsions that are growing

(04:40):
OCD? And so it's building tothe point where we get to like kind
of the therapy interventions and then otherthings like self esteem and things that come
into play when you have OCD.And what age ranges? What kind of
kids is this designed for everybody withOCD? And the age of course publishers
like age ranges is six to twelve. I feel like you could go a

(05:00):
little bit younger, it could goa little bit older. It is,
it's got cartoons, and it's meantto be really simplistic. One of the
great things about this book, actuallybecause I just spent the last hour with
it, is that I think itwill give parents a really good idea of
what their kids are dealing with,how an OCD brain works, and also
if you're an adult's language for kids, but you could actually get something out

(05:23):
of it yourself. Yeah, AndI've actually gotten that feedback that people have
said, I've got your book andit's actually helping me. The skills are
all the same, it's just it'skid friendly. It's just a lot of
little pictures. Natasha Daniels is ananxiety and OCD therapist who hosts the at
Parenting Survival podcast and has a YouTubechannel, Ask the Child Therapist. You

(05:44):
can find her work at Atparentingsurvival dotcom and on social media at at Parenting
Survival. The book we're talking aboutis Crushing OCD Workbook for Kids, Fifty
fun activities to overcome OCD with CBTand exposures. You're listening to get connected
on one O six point seven LightFM. I'm Nina del Rio. Early
in the book, you talk aboutgetting a plan together, getting a plan

(06:09):
together for when people talk about itor you want to talk about it,
why and can you give me anidea of what that conversation might be.
In families, OCD doesn't live inits little bubble. It involves family members.
The compulsions are often seeking reassurance orasking for things from your parent and

(06:29):
having a plan on how we're goingto talk about OCD, how I'm going
to talk to you when ocd's askingme to do something that will grow it,
and also respecting the child's privacy ofwhen do you want me to point
out that you're doing a compulsion andwhen do you want me to be quiet
about it? Because that can alsobe overwhelming for kids. What are some
of the common stereotypes about OCD thataren't correct? So many where do we

(06:54):
start? This really doesn't help peoplewho have OCD because it increases shame and
stick but feeling like, you know, oh, I'm a little OCD,
or I'm so OCD meaning I'm neurotic, or I'm a clean freak, or
I like things organized. No onewho actually has OCD enjoys their OCD.
It is a debilitating disorder, andthere are so many different themes that pop

(07:17):
up that are completely unrelated to thosestereotypes. One of the early exercises in
this book, I thought sort ofopened a window for me about what we're
talking about is delay. How candelay help defend against obsessive compulsions? When
you think about the neural pathways,the quicker that neural pathways written kind of
like a highway. It grows inthe brain. And so if we can

(07:41):
even disrupt that, I have anintrusive thought, and then how long am
I going to wait until I dothe compulsion? And that delay offers that
space in the neural pathways, andit also offers an opportunity to sit with
discomfort and build those muscles to toleratethe discomfort that OCD doesn't want you to
tolerate. You know what was aningabout this book, Natasha? Is there

(08:01):
a few activities that brought to mindfor me? A gentleman on Instagram with
schizophrenia, These are two completely differentthings. He's trying to bring light to
how it works for him and tactics. He's learning to keep it at bay.
And when he has conversations with someone, he's a therapy dog that will
tell them if there's an actual personthere. But sometimes when he has the
presence of mind, he will justput out his cell phone now and record
it to see if there's a personthere. OCD, again and schizophrenia are

(08:24):
different things, but some of thesetactics suggest it's so much about ignoring the
chatter. Yeah. I think alot of mental health is about learning how
to sit with discomfort. I thinkit's a really big one, learning how
to handle uncertainty and learning how tonot scratch the itch that OCD wants you
to scratch. So, as youjust mentioned, when some people have OCD.

(08:48):
The brain has a hard time acceptingdoubt and uncertainty. You started off
in tiny bits. What's a usefulway to start that off in a small
way? And what's not so helpful? Yeah, you really want to educate
them first on like why they're doingthis, because if the y is not
there, even for a small child, there's not gonna be a lot of
traction. And then if we dowant them to just go cold turkey,

(09:09):
oh you're you know, you're notgoing to wash your hands at all,
or you're going to touch this thingthat's really upsetting, and then you're just
going to sit with it forever.That can shut them down and they may
not want to try anything. Sosmall increments of saying can you sit with
this uncertainty for a little while?Can you delay washing your hands for a
few minutes before you give in andlearn how to sit with that for a

(09:30):
little while, It is a reallyhelpful place to start. Can you talk
a little bit more about some thingsparents might do with the best of intentions
that would inadvertently grow their child's OCDOCD. I always say OCD is a
family affair because it really involves thewhole family. A lot of times the
parent is like the metaphorical sink andthey actually complete the OCD loop. So

(09:52):
you might approach your child's OCD ina rational way, and so you might
wipe things down. You might letthem know over and over and over again
that their food is safe to eat, all sorts of different themes that you
can be part of. And sonot approaching it like it's rational, you
know, is the first thing,because when we rationalize it with our kids,
it can cause more shame because theyknow that their hands are clean,

(10:13):
or they know that they've locked thedoor five times. And then not participating
in those compulsions and slowly removing yourselffrom those is really helpful too. What
is the key then, as yousuggest exposures in the book, exercises that
you know kick off in fact kickoff a trigger. What's the key to
making the response weaker and the resistancestronger? The key is to not do

(10:39):
what OCD wants and pay attention tothat because OCD is actually I always say
it's like playing chess, not checkers, like anxiety's checkers. OCD is is
chess because it can, you know, it will move around. But recognizing
does OCD want me to do thisor does OCD want me to avoid this?
And learning how to not give intowhat OCD wants is really the key
to long terms sess with OCD andwhat is the goal in the end or

(11:03):
what is possible? I guess isOCD actually curable? They say it's a
chronic condition, but I always liketo sprinkle hope in there. I feel
like it's a very managed chronic condition, and so we don't get rid of
OCD, but we learn how tomanage it where those intrusive thoughts are insignificant
or if we have them, theydon't create the distress because it's the distress

(11:24):
that's the problem, not the thought. And so there's plenty of people who
are having fantastic, really productive lives, very successful and manage their OCD.
What can parents do at home tohelp their child with OCD in addition to
maybe this book and learning tactics,what else can they do? Definitely try
to find an OCD therapist. Ithink parenting a child with OCD I know

(11:46):
I have two of my own isvery counterintuitive, and so getting that clinical
support if you can, is reallyimportant. Go to the IOCDF Foundation and
look at their directory because not everybodywho says they specialize in OCDA actually specialize
in OCD. And every child isdifferent. But when is medication necessary?
When is it not? Yeah,every child is different, and so it

(12:09):
depends on the acuity. If they'renot being able to function, sometimes there's
a lot of restrictive eating. They'refalling off the growth chart. They can't
function, they can't go to school, they can't leave their house, their
hands are so raw, and theycan't even start doing exposures. Then you
want to have a conversation about medicationFor parents who are just at the beginning
of this, where do you start? And what would you say to a

(12:31):
parent who's really you know, theylove their kid, but you're also really
frustrated. Where do you start?It is really frustrating, and I think
sometimes parents want to jump into thedeep end. They just want to be
like, Okay, tell me whatI should do when my child wants me
to give them this reassurance or isyou know, compulsively walking in and out
of the door a million times andcan't function? And really, unfortunately,
you have to start at the shallowend, and it starts with education,

(12:54):
so reading books, taking courses,you know, going and learning about OCD
that is actual factual information is reallythe start, because then you're going to
want to teach that to your childrenand then move in from there. When
you think about your practice or familiesyou've worked with, do you have any
kids who have gone from Z toA with OCD that are particularly memorable for

(13:18):
you. I have a ton ofkids in my online community and in my
private practice that have had crippling OCDand then learned about how OCD is growing
and learned how to do exposures.Even my own kids, I think had
been extreme at one point and havelearned how to tackle these things on their
own as they pop up. Thereis so much more in this book.

(13:41):
Actually, it'll be such I think, an eye opener for so many people,
just to realize kind of how thething is working and how it can
be attacked step by step. CrushingOCD Workbook for Kids by Natasha Daniels Fifty
fun activities to overcome OCD with CBTand exposures. Thank you for being to
get connected, Thanks for having me. This has been Get connected with Nina

(14:03):
del Rio on one oh six pointseven Light FM. The views and opinions
of our guests do not necessarily reflectthe views of the station. If you
missed any part of our show orwant to share it, visit our website
for downloads and podcasts at one ohsix to seven lightfm dot com. Thanks
for listening.
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