Help for Families and Friends
Lion Books, 2013, £8.99
Pb 176pp, ISBN 9780745955803
Reviewed by Chris Williams, Professor of Psychosocial Psychiatry, University of Glasgow
The author has gone to a lot of effort letting the sufferer – and their families and friends – be listened to. The book is structured around extensive quotes from OCD sufferers so that all the main presentations of OCD – ruminations, checking, cleaning etc are well-covered. This approach works well so the reader gets a very full understanding of what life with OCD is like.
The same approach is attempted with practitioners, but less successfully as few responded to the author's request for interview. The result is that some content does not always reflect current treatment guidelines.
Whilst the book is strong on understanding OCD, it falls short on describing interventions in a way that could enable change. It is not a self-help book and aims to inform rather than help the reader change or self-manage their symptoms. Likewise, interventions are described but not prioritised – so similar levels of information are provided for some non-evidence based treatments and rarely used approaches (eg psychosurgery) perhaps leading to confusion in readers' minds.
In summary – this book will help readers understand OCD, but is weaker in helping explain what can be done to help.