All of our therapists have first hand experience of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We believe that the combination of our professional training as well as our personal experiences allows us to work from a unique perspective that allows our clients to feel understood from the very first chat with us.
I had always been a happy go lucky person, until one day my son developed OCD. My whole world changed overnight, and we went from having a young, happy and confident little boy to a child that became stuck in what appeared to be both physical and mental compulsions, almost all day and night. As things become progressively worse, and finding accurate help felt close to impossible, I took it upon myself to help my son.
At first, it felt productive, and I could feel that with every page I read I became more and more hopeful in getting my son back, from what at this point had overtaken every aspect of his life. I continued to read, and learn, and in time I felt like there was no stone that I had left unturned. Consequently, my son went on to recover without my help, but I became plagued by the thought: “what happens if he becomes unwell again, I must know the answer to everything”. At a time where I should have been enjoying having my son back from the grips of the condition, I felt an overwhelming urge to continue researching, just in case that day came where he would need my help again. Before I knew it, I had developed full blown OCD, and became locked in this cycle for years, researching for up to 20 hours. In time, and with perseverance, a therapist who understood OCD, and ironically close help from my son, I recovered.
I decided, with my new found resolve, that I had to make use of such a harrowing experience for the good of others. I went on to become a fully qualified integrative therapist, and co-founded the OCD Treatment Centre with Craig. I currently spend my time between clinical work with clients, writing training programs and offering CPD courses to other professionals.
My name is Craig Shirley, and I am the Managing Director, and clinical lead of The OCD Treatment Centre. After being diagnosed with OCD at a very young age, and displaying symptoms from as young as 6 years old, I went on to suffer for another 13 years. I struggled to find the right expert help, and it wasn’t until was almost 20 years old that I underwent as specific course of intensive, anxiety related treatment which helped me to start learning skills to begin taking control back over my life.
Although it had its ups and downs, and I am happy to say that with a lot of patience, dedication and a will to keep pushing forward I managed to get my symptoms entirely under control. I decided to make it one of my life’s ambitions to make a difference to both the accessibility and quality of OCD Treatment, both nationally and internationally. Whilst studying in Bristol, a colleague and I set up some OCD support groups in and around the city, which gained media attention, subsequently leading to an award for innovative ideas in the field of business and mental health. I have also spent a lot of time working closely with a number of mental health charities facilitating online conference calls and sessions.
Through attending college and University, I became a full qualified integrative therapist, and was now ready to engage in the field of OCD treatment as a clinical therapist. In 2010 I co-founded The OCD Treatment Centre. I currently divide my time between offering clinical treatment to clients, guest speaking and supporting media outlets in the accurate portrayal of OCD.
My goals are to continue to raise positive and accurate awareness of OCD, provide accessible and effective treatment of the condition, and to always challenge the stigma that can be associated with having a mental health condition.
The onset of OCD came for me in 1982 at the of age 29. To this day, I stay on top of my recovery with continued CBT/ ERP, spiritual, medical, and holistic therapies and treatments, consequently emerging as an educator and a public speaker specializing in the field of OCD and anxiety.
I started my college teaching and professional filmmaking career in my early 20s. Since then, I have earned over 30 national and international film festival awards as well as critical acclaim for writing and directing films about physically and emotionally challenged individuals. I was commissioned by the International OCD Foundation to make the first dramatic educational film about a child with OCD, The Touching Tree.
I currently provide inspiration and recovery techniques through regularly uploading OCD Coaching Videos and words of hope. My articles can be found at afocd.org, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. I am also the co-founder and president of the Awareness Foundation for OCD. I live with my wife Jeanine by the ocean in northern California, USA.
More recently I have released my first book called ‘It’s A Matter Of Trust’. This hopeful and inspirational memoir is warm and casual account of my own recovery process. My care was multifaceted, including hospitalization, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention Therapy, and an array of innovative approaches.
With compassion, empathy, humour, and wisdom, I have chronicled my three decades of getting the right help while living with OCD. I found that OCD robbed me of trust and infused me with fears and phobias about people, places, and things as well as debilitating anxiety. I simply didn’t trust life. I regained that trust by using helpful tools to reclaim my power—to trust myself again. In this book, I share those tools to help with your recovery.