You may remember that a little while ago we told you about the upcoming UK OCD Camp...well a few weeks ago the camp took place, and we recently caught up with Stuart Ralph (host of The OCD Stories) who set up the camp to find out how it went! After Stuart saw the documentary ‘Extreme OCD Camp’ and talked with one of the therapist’s, Pete Weiss, he felt inspired to merge his passion of helping people with OCD and being in nature. During his 2016 interview with Pete about the documentary, Pete offered to help him if he ever wanted to start a similar camp in the UK. True to his word, Pete flew over from Seattle to co-run the camp and share the successful formula Pete (and his colleagues) had trialled and tested for the last 10 years.
"The UK camp took place in Surrey, just South of London. Seven campers embarked on a journey in what felt like the wilderness but in reality was only a short distance from the busy M25. This tranquil spot became their home for three days and two nights. Throughout the weekend the campers got to cook their meals, learn how to light fires without matches, play team games, swing from tree tops at Go Ape and learn how to do woodcraft by the fire. The activities were fun and gave plenty of opportunity for the campers to share experiences, support one another and engage their minds in mindful activities.
The two evenings saw Pete lead the seven campers in group discussion around the camp fire exploring each others stories and supporting the process. The campers found these talks to be both challenging and rewarding, and gave them useful insights in their recovery. The staff’s singing on the second night however may have not helped their recovery – you can’t be good at everything.
Very early on the campers agreed on how they would treat each other and the mutual values they would share as a group, this created a wonderful, supportive and open environment to allow whatever needed to come up for each camper to do so in a safe environment. One of the ideas put into this mutual agreement was “Challenge by choice”. The camp is not a replacement for therapy, however there was a trained and experienced CBT therapist present so if a camper was triggered and wished to do an exposure the frame work was there to support; equally if someone did not want to do this or sit out of an activity they had that choice and the respect of the group.
The camp involved in a lot of emotion, pushing fears and tough conversations. The end result was one of growth. The aim was to inspire campers to continue on in their recoveries with fresh motivation and insights, while no longer feeling alone in this disorder.
The campers were brilliant, they pushed themselves, shared openly, were playful and supported one another. Friendships were made that will last a life time."
I'm sure you will agree that it sounds like a brilliant weekend was had by all! And we are very excited to hear that Stuart is aiming to run two camps in 2019 in the UK! If you are interested in finding out more head over to theocdcamp.com.