Loving Someone with OCD

Help for You and Your Family


Karen J. Landsman, Ph.D.,

Kathleen M. Rupertus, MA, MS,

and Cherry Pedrick, R.N.



Loving Someone with OCD was published in 2005 by New Harbinger Publications. We’d like to tell you more about this valuable new resource. Below is an overview of Loving Someone with OCD. For more information on Loving Someone with OCD. please click on one of the following links.

An Overview of the Book
The Table of Contents
List of Endorsements

Overview of Loving Someone with OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder takes a steep toll on families. One that – until now – has been overlooked. In Loving Someone with OCD: Help for Families, Karen J. Landsman, Ph.D,; Kathleen M. Rupertus, MA, MS; and Cherry Pedrick, RN, recognize the plight of the spouses, siblings, parents, and significant others of those challenged by OCD. In this first-of-its-kind book they provide the skills families need to support their loved ones’ healing and to keep OCD from taking over the family. Readers find:

        An understanding of how accommodating OCD behaviors undermines the person suffering from them;

        A lay person’s understanding of what the latest research tells us about OCD;

        The skills they need to help a loved one overcome OCD and free him or herself from the grip;

        Strategies for stopping OCD from compromising the family’s wellbeing;

        Case histories of families who’ve struggled with and overcome OCD together.



Family members of someone with OCD are often “required” to participate in the ritualistic behaviors that this illness demands. The authors profile a number of these families in Loving Someone with OCD. In one, the husband of someone with OCD-related fears of contamination is required to remove all his clothing in the garage prior to entering the house, then wash his hands and feet with a bleach solution and finally take a shower while his wife “decontaminates” his clothing in the laundry. In another, the wife must rearrange her work schedule so she has time to check all the household appliances before leaving home. The authors respond with guidance for these issues.

Accommodating OCD secures its grip on your loved one

Your spouse, your sister, or your step-dad is tormented by the fear that they didn’t lock the front door and that this will result in a family-wide catastrophe You love them and don’t want to see them miserable, so you go back to make sure the door is locked, then they become fearful that they left the iron on and back to the house you go, then it’s the stove that starts to worry them and you’re back a third time. It’s natural to want to allay a loved one’s fears. The problem is that by accommodating OCD-driven fears and compulsions you are, in fact, cementing their hold on him or her. In Loving Someone with OCD, the authors offer step-by-step guidance for responding to a loved one’s fears in a way that strengthens them, not their OCD.

What you probably don’t know about OCD

In recent years, OCD has been fodder for pop culture vehicles like Monk and As Good as It Gets. Because it’s an illness that’s made its way into the popular consciousness many of us think we know all about it but, as the authors reveal, there’s plenty of new info on the horizon. For example, did you know that:

• Some cases of OCD in children are associated with strep infections.


• The relatives of OCD sufferers have higher rates of Tourette’s syndrome and tics, leading researchers to suspect a connection among these conditions.


• PET scans have shown that those with OCD have increased activity in the areas of the brain that control impulsivity and reaction to fear.


• Hoarding can be a symptom of OCD

• Some OCD sufferers have what’s called “scupulosity.” Those with it obsess about having blasphemed or violated a divine moral code in thought or deed.


• For women with OCD it sometimes worsens during pregnancy.


Three’s a crowd: You, your spouse, and OCD


You may find Monk a laugh-out-loud funny character, but how would you feel if he was your husband? OCD can impact a couple’s emotional and physical intimacy, take a financial toll, and sometimes stress a relationship to its breaking point.


“Surprise...I have OCD.” What if your spouse or significant other doesn’t reveal his or her OCD before you’re married or living together? Often deep-rooted shame about OCD and fear about how it will affect a relationship inspires secrecy. When this happens the non-OCD partner often feels unprepared to handle the situation and can wind up asking difficult questions like “Why would someone I have devoted my life to not trust our relationship enough to reveal this sooner?”


Putting it in writing: Family contracting helps a loved one with OCD


The family contract is the cornerstone of the authors’ program for freeing a loved one and the whole family from OCD’s grip. When a family enters into a behavioral contract they make an agreement to respond instead of react to their loved one’s OCD. While the specifics differ from family to family, at the core of the contract lies an agreement to replace the accommodating behaviors that undermine a loved one and strengthen OCD with responses that support the person, not the OCD. These include:


• Nixing the quick fix: Curbing the behaviors that accommodate OCD fears and undermine your loved one;


• Proactive problem solving: Making a plan to respond effectively to predictable OCD situations; and


• Promising to make informed, reason-based decision even in the face of a loved-one’s anxiety: Rather than participating in the rituals that will temporarily calm a loved one’s fear, sticking to the plan that will help your loved one overcome OCD.



Karen J. Landsman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She is in private practice in New Jersey and is a frequent presenter at psychological seminars across the country. She has been interviewed by national and local print media.


Kathleen M. Rupertus, MA, MS, is a counselor specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders at the Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Pennsylvania where she works with children and adults. She is a doctoral candidate at The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. An OCD sufferer herself, Rupertus has a unique empathy for those families living with OCD.


Cherry Pedrick is a registered nurse and freelance writer in Lacey, Washington. In 1994 she was diagnosed with OCD, which began an intensive search for knowledge, effective treatment, and management of compulsive behaviors. She is coauthor of The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, The Habit Change Workbook: How to Break Bad Habits and Form New Ones, and The BDD Workbook: Overcome Body Dysmorphic Disorder and End Body Image Obsessions, Helping Your Child with OCD, A Workbook for Parents of Children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You and Your Family, published by New Harbinger Publications, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, published by Lerner Press. Visit her website at http://www.cherrypedrick.com/

E-mail her at cherlene@aol.com


FOR AN INTERVIEW REQUEST OR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lorna Garano, 510-652-0215, x107, lorna@newharbinger.com

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