Testimonials from my clients.
When I was 19 I began experiencing obsessive thinking and obsessive compulsions. As is quite common with sufferers of OCD, I saw several therapists before getting the correct diagnosis and treatment.
However, because my case of OCD is strictly internal (consisting of obsessions only in the mind, not observable ones like constant hand washing), even excellent therapists struggled to treat it. My OCD also involves emotional suppression, which leaves me strictly in my thoughts, often making talk therapy ineffective. When my OCD was compounded by trauma, successful treatment became more elusive.
In order to get a handle on my OCD, I spent years receiving different treatments. I had acupuncture, deep pressure body work, electromagnetic stimulation (EMS), two two-month stints at Roger’s inpatient and intensive outpatient (IOP) OCD Programs (the former in Wisconsin, the latter in California), two two-month terms at an IOP specializing in OCD, a 6 week stay at an anxiety facility in Hawaii, and time spent at a Japanese Psychology (based in Buddhist principles) program in Vermont. I also went through two programs using Chinese herbal medicine and different supplements, which were coupled with meditation retreats, yoga and martial arts.
After so many treatments ultimately proved unsuccessful, about 4 months ago I began working with a therapist in Orange County, CA., Dr Passaro. Dr. Passaro took an approach that targeted both my trauma and my OCD. A specialist in OCD and meditation and mindfulness, Dr. Passaro immediately identified the obsessions and internal compulsions. However, what was unique about this treatment was that Dr. Passaro integrated EMDR, which targeted the synergistic negative effects of OCD coupled with trauma. What is so brilliant about this method, is that both trauma and OCD require exposure to fear. EMDR provides a safe method of doing both simultaneously.
Before working with Dr. Passaro, I had difficulty keeping a job and struggled with day to day tasks. I have experienced better results over the last four months than I have in ten years. I now feel capable of starting my own therapy practice and am a grateful patient.
As any of my former treatment providers will attest to, I have been an extremely difficult case to work with. One of the first things Dr. Passaro did was validate my suffering, reminding me of the first rule of the Buddha: “life is suffering.” Four months later, I have come to believe that it doesn’t have to be.
Dr. Passaro’s impact on my healing is truly immeasurable. No therapist or doctor before him— and there were many— treated me with the attention, insight and compassion that define Dr. Passaro’s approach. His expertise and experience— combined with real-life awareness and empathy— make treatment feel like a partnership. With Dr. Passaro’s help, I’ve been able to move past the debilitating symptoms that once dictated my life. I’m beyond grateful to him for giving me the care, courage, and capability to heal.
I experienced my childhood primarily through multiple forms of abuse from my father. This occurred for years without the rest of my family really being aware of my suffering. I felt helpless, but never hopeless. There was only one therapist in the small town where I grew up and I only went to one therapy session. I felt if I told her anything that my family secret would be out.
Growing up I put all my effort towards school. I thought going to college was my ticket out. However when I was a teenager, I was bullied and I started to skip school. My longest record of absence was 6 weeks. I started experimenting with marijuana and alcohol. By the time I was 18 years old, I was drinking and smoking marijuana on a daily basis. I was consuming so much alcohol I would blackout everyday. I was raped eight different times, by eight different men. I graduated High School a semester early and went to the community college until I could move away to a four year University and escape my father. I had hoped all of my problems and issues would all go away once I was out of the house.
Unfortunately I began having major difficulties mentally. I attended therapy at my college but it did not seem to help. I kept trying with the same therapist for a year. She knew my history and recommended EMDR. It didn’t make any sense to me that by following an object with my eyes would have any sort of change or positive outcome with my severe PTSD. I thought it would be a huge waste of my time. During all of this I was experimenting with LSD, opium, psychedelic mushrooms, and other drugs.
I was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder-Type I. I began an aggressive regime of psychopharmacology and I was encouraged to do EMDR, but I refused again, basically laughing that it would help my trauma. We did talk therapy for about eight years and I found it to be helpful. I was medicated with Geodon, Lamictal, Prazosin, Clonidine, and Clanazapam to name a few. I went to a partial outpatient program and worked with a new therapist. I do not believe she understood my situation. I began having thoughts of people stalking me and that people were watching me though my laptop. I thought that every song I heard was about me and the song was making fun of me. I had over 10,000 songs on my devices. My mother took me to The Menninger Clinic. I lived in Menninger for four months. I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar I type with psychotic features.
Eventually I was on thirteen different medications to manage my symptoms and could not function in college any longer. My current psychiatrist referred me to a psychologist, Perry Passaro, Ph.D. We agreed to a goal of helping reduce the number of medications I was on, once we reduced the psychotic symptoms. I rapidly got off of five powerful medications: including an atypical antipsychotic and two mood stabilizers. We did this by reprocessing my severe developmental trauma through the EMDR I had been avoiding for almost ten years.
EMDR was more effective than any psychological treatments I had in my entire life. It was a game changer. The intrusive memories, flashbacks, night terrors and paranoia from my complex developmental trauma became less present relatively quickly. EMDR targeted my trauma but to my surprise it also resulted in a reduction of my delusions and hallucinations. We continued desentized the psychotic symptoms and night terrors and the hold they had over me began weakening almost immediately with EMDR.
I am finishing my undergraduate degree with a 4.0 GPA and I hope to be a psychologist. I believe my healing, although I do continue to have a serious mental illness, can allow me to help others live healthier, happier, and more peaceful lives.