Event Brings Together Former and Current Patients of OCD Program

September 19, 2016

OCD Reunion
From left: milieu therapist Kyri Barilone and patient Katlyn Hashway

More than 150 patients and their families who have benefited from Bradley Hospital’s Intensive Program for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) program gathered to share and learn as part of a reunion event at Bradley Hospital.

“To see how the kids I’d worked with in the past are doing today gives me so much pride in our program,” says Abbe Garcia, PhD, the clinical director of Bradley’s Intensive Program for OCD. “It also helps our current patients so much when they see their peers, who once struggled greatly with OCD, doing so well.”

The reunion featured a variety of activities for all attendees -- a mix of fun, silly and serious. Current and former patients partnered together in therapeutic art groups while their siblings engaged in similar artistic activities. In support groups led by clinicians who have worked closely with their children, parents shared stories of struggle and triumph. Following a lunch and ice cream social, patients and their siblings came together for a joint art project, painting large colorful rocks that now adorn the Bradley campus. As their children painted, parents attended a presentation on Bradley’s latest OCD research and outcomes of the Intensive Program.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see kids who previously suffered from intense anxiety enjoying themselves in such a big group — feeling completely comfortable about it,” says Dr. Garcia.

The day was punctuated by an inspirational speech from Brian Beneduce, the author of Scared to Death: Do It Anyway. The book chronicles Brian’s journey with severe panic and anxiety attacks, and the healing process that allowed him to triumph over the debilitating disorder. All proceeds from the sale of the book are generously donated to Bradley Hospital by the author.

“My message is one of hope. To inspire people of all ages to believe there is a way to manage their affliction and find happiness,” says Mr. Beneduce. “When you’re in a dark place — and I know that place very well — you never think anybody understands. But in Bradley, we have this wonderful hospital that helps people on such an enormous level so they can live life the way they want to.”

Adds Dr. Garcia, “Aside from the camaraderie that is built, the day is simply good old-fashioned fun!”