A therapist's view

Simon Darnley, principal cognitive behavioural therapist at the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit


“For a long time people just thought of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as being all about hand washing and cleanliness. Actually there is so much more and there are real problems regarding intrusive thoughts – people who have unwelcome and involuntary thoughts which may become obsessions.

When I was first asked to work on a documentary I jumped at the chance, I just thought it was a great way to really educate people on what OCD really means, all the anxieties that come with it and what we do on our specialist unit.  

We care for people with some of the most severe cases of OCD in the country and many of them don’t feel they are understood so being in a film like this I hope will be affirming for them. I think it was really brave of people to take part, to say: ‘look, this is me, I am unwell and I am not ashamed’; I am so proud of everyone who took part.

I am still surprised at how readily patients participated in the documentary, some said they would take part and then pulled out which is fine. At no point was any care or treatment affected by the cameras being there – we were clear about that from the start and the producers understood this fully.

Some of the staff were anxious at first which is understandable as their work is being put on show on national television but many soon got used to the crew being there.  The producers were excellent, they built really strong relationships with people and were with us for a long time – everything was taken really seriously and nothing was filmed if the clinical judgement was that it would be detrimental to patients.

Generally making the film was fun, it is a really interesting and unique piece of work without being sensationalist. Everyone is looking forward to the finished product and if we have helped raised awareness in any way I will be happy.”

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