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Graduate Story 3

I am grateful for the opportunity to give a testimonial about my therapy with Steven Phillipson. I'm not a person given to hyperbole. But to say that Steven Phillipson changed my life is no exaggeration. My big problem was responsibility OC: an intense feeling of responsibility for the safety of others (and myself). I would check kitchen gas jets countless times to see if they were off. I would warn family members and friends about possible adverse effects from illnesses or drug combinations -- and repeat my warnings many times for fear they didn't understand my point. I would feel an urge to call the city transportation department every time I saw a pothole or a broken traffic light. Of course I knew that my thoughts and actions were problematic and undesirable. But I was powerless to change course.

The obsessions and compulsions intensified during important moments in my life. Before a job interview. When embarking upon an enjoyable experience, like a party or a vacation. During a business trip. I was being undermined at the very times I wanted to have my wits about me. I often found myself in the embarrassing position of calling home during business trips to warn friends and family members about something that could cause them harm. Always there was a great deal of anxiety and a sense of depression over my inability to snap out of this funk. I was too often diverted from focusing on my work and social life.

I came to Steven after years of trying to deal with this issue unproductively. There had been analytic therapy with a few practitioners. While these therapists were well-meaning, they had no clue about how to attack this disorder. Steven, on the other hand, instantly showed a deep knowledge of what afflicted me and how to battle back. He knew that the solution to my problem wasn't in exploring in the past. The answer was to empower me in my present.

I learned a new framework for dealing with this problem. How to identify the signs that the disorder was at work. How to use a risk-taking procedure to render this disorder powerless. How to manage my life while battling this problem and ultimately get my concentration and focus on the things that were important to me. How to enjoy myself unencumbered by obsessions and compulsions.

The first big payoff for me came during a vacation once therapy was in high gear. It was the first vacation in a long time when I felt free to enjoy my experiences. But this process wasn't an easy ride. There was hard work on my part. Fortunately, I was very motivated when I began, but I had to maintain that momentum. Often it took a great leap of faith that I had the ability to make this work -- particularly during tense times. And even today I must be vigilant to practice what I've learned lest the disorder creeps back in. But I am now a different person than before. I have the tools. I have control. It's a great feeling.


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