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More than 1,500 advocates and mental health experts are expected to attend the 22nd Annual OCD Conference beginning Friday, July 31 through Sunday, August 2 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District.
Hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), and presented by McLean Hospital’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute, this unique event offers resources for individuals with OCD and their family members to learn about the latest in research and treatment, alongside the mental health professionals who treat the disorder.
OCD affects 1 in 100 adults around the world and can result in crippling anxiety and doubt. But with the right treatment from therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, and sometimes medication, it can get better.
This year’s conference will feature more than 100 presentations, workshops and seminars, as well as more than two-dozen support groups, evening activities and other networking events.
“This Conference serves as a great opportunity for everyone affected by OCD to learn more about the disorder,” says Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the IOCDF. “OCD is often misunderstood or overlooked, so this is an excellent chance for people to get connected to new and exciting resources, research, and a strong community that understands and relates to your experiences.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s conference showcase new, innovative approaches to treating OCD. “Louder than OCD Cabaret,” one of the opening events of the conference, features IOCDF spokesperson and Argentinian pop star, Ro Vitale, performing and leading a music therapy workshop.
This year’s keynote address will be delivered by former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk. A longtime OCD sufferer, Malarchuk is perhaps best known for having his carotid artery slashed by a skate during a 1989 game. On the morning of Saturday, August 1, Malarchuk, with his wife, Joanie Malarchuk, will present his address, “I’m Not Crazy—I Just Thought I Was.”
The IOCDF will also honor individuals who go above and beyond in their work. David Adam, an editor for the science journal Nature and author of the 2014 book The Man Who Couldn’t Stop will receive the IOCDF Illumination Award, an accolade given annually to media personalities and other influencers whose work accurately and respectfully represents OCD and related disorders in an effort to raise awareness and understanding.
Additional honorees will be recognized throughout the conference weekend, including James Claiborn, PhD, who will receive the Outstanding Service Award, John Greist, MD, who will receive the Outstanding Career Achievement Award, and Chris Trondsen and Kevin Putman, who will both receive the Hero Award for their advocacy work.
“The IOCDF conference provides an incredible opportunity to access an abundance of resources in one place,” said Diane Davey, RN, MBA, program director of McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute. “It also provides a safe place to learn and share knowledge about OCD, and to meet other people who understand the disorder without fear of stigma.”
For more information, including a full conference schedule and details on how to register to attend, visit ocd2015.org.
The International OCD Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization, working to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in 25 states and territories, as well as 9 Global Partners. For more information, visit iocdf.org.