Giving Obsessive-compulsive sufferers an Alternative Life Style (“GOALS”) OCD Virtual Support Group
Meeting Schedule for 2023:
August 30, 2023
September 13 & 27
October 11 & 25
December 6 & 20
The GOALS support group is for people ages 18 years and older who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The Mental Health America Franklin County chapter (MHAFC) sponsors the group.
The group meets via Zoom every other Wednesday from 6:30-8:00 pm Pacific Time (see above for dates). GOALS group attendance is free; there is no fee to participate. It is not necessary to have a referral to participate in the group. Because it is a support group and not a therapy group, we do permit those residing outside of California to attend remotely.
The GOALS support group is facilitated by clinicians of Willow Anxiety and OCD with training and experience in the treatment of OCD. However, the clinicians facilitate the GOALS group as volunteers, not as therapists.
The GOALS support group is not intended to be a therapy group or a substitute for therapy for OCD. It is intended to be an adjunct to therapy, to provide additional support, information, ideas, and possibly opportunities to practice various intervention strategies for people who have received or are currently receiving treatment for OCD from a qualified professional.
Although it is not required that you have received such therapy or are currently in treatment to participate in the support group, it is strongly suggested that you engage in formal therapy to treat OCD.
The group format created by Dr. Tejal Jakatdar is “semi-structured.” Each group is broken into roughly three segments:
The first 30 minutes is for group discussion of a predetermined topic.
The middle 30 minutes is the time for personal goal (“homework”) planning.
The remaining time is free social time, during which participants may talk about anything they wish with other participants informally.
Expectations for GOALS Attendees:
A participant may begin attending at any time and attend as many or as few meetings as they wish to attend.
Group participants are expected to respect the confidentiality of other group members (not to use names or any other identifying information about group members outside of the group).
Participants are expected to listen respectfully to the thoughts and feelings of others in the group and to refrain from criticizing or pressuring other members.
Attendees are expected to make an effort to participate in the group by choosing, for themselves, some behavioral goal to work on between meetings. Goals involving exposure or ritual reduction/prevention are often discussed and encouraged (as these strategies are highly effective in managing OCD symptoms), but other types of goals are welcomed and valued as well. Such as the use of mindfulness strategies, exercise, asserting oneself, or making a decision. Anything that helps reduce the interference from OCD in quality of living is a valuable goal.
Participants are not to discuss medication use during the first two segments of the meeting. It is a priority of this group to talk about behavioral rather than medical responses to OCD symptoms. Participants are welcome to discuss their experience with medications during the open social segment of the meeting in the last 15 minutes.
GOALS Group Leaders:
Experienced group members may also serve as group leaders.
Although the group leader may pass on information about OCD and its treatment, and offer feedback or suggestions about setting reasonable goals, the group leader does not take on the role of a personal therapist with you. You are encouraged to find a therapist to work comprehensively on your OCD.
The group leader facilitates the group by asking questions and trying to assure that everyone has a chance to participate. The group leader may at times interrupt or redirect the discussion to ensure it remains relevant and respectful of all group members.
The group leader reserves the right to remove any group member from the group if that member’s behavior is significantly disruptive or hurtful to others in the group.
If the group leader believes that any group member poses a significant, immediate threat to the safety of themselves or another person, the group leader will take whatever action is necessary to protect people. For example, the emergency contact person, one of the member’s listed healthcare providers, and/or law enforcement officers could be contacted for help.
If the group leader learns of any specific instances of the abuse or neglect of a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person, by law he/she must report this to the appropriate county authority.
How to join?
There are no fees to join. If you are interested in joining the GOALS support group, please fill out our Contact Form or email our admin, Alfredo, at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your interest to join the group and answers to the following three screening questions:
Have you been diagnosed with OCD?
Are you currently seeing a treatment provider?
How did you hear about the GOALS support group?
If you are eligible to join, you will then be asked to fill out and sign an informed consent form before being added to the members list.