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Consumer advocacy meetings: An innovative therapeutic tool

Christine Lochner, MA, PhD

South African Medical Research Council Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Dan J. Stein, MD, PhD

South African Medical Research Council Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University , Matieland, Stellenbosch, South Africa Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health University of Cape Town Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa

Jennifer Raikes, BA

Trichotillomania Learning Center, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Christina Pearson

Trichotillomania Learning Center, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

BACKGROUND: Consumer advocacy groups are fulfilling an increasingly important role in psychiatry. The Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC) aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with body-focused repetitive behavioral (BFRB) disorders such as trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder [HPD]) and skin picking disorder. The annual TLC retreat is an educational event focused on experiential learning and building a supportive community.

METHODS: We assessed attendees’ impressions of and experiences from the 2010 TLC retreat.

RESULTS: Sixty-two (57 female; mean age: 32.4, standard deviation: 14.6) attendees completed the survey. Fifty-five reported ≥1 current BFRBs, 6 were family members of attendees, and 1 participant reported HPD in remission. Most attendees found the TLC retreat to be a helpful intervention that offered support and information on BFRB disorders. Attendance was accompanied by reduced stigma, shame, and loneliness. Attendance also increased many respondents’ levels of motivation to stop pulling or picking (85%); 61% of respondents reported reduced pulling or picking. Most respondents (95%) reported learning new ways of managing the condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Survey findings suggested most attendees found the annual TLC retreat to be a helpful intervention. The retreat may serve as a novel and innovative model for helping individuals suffering from a range of other psychiatric disorders.

KEYWORDS: consumer advocacy groups, treatment, trichotillomania, hair pulling disorder, skin picking disorder, body-focused repetitive behavioral disorders

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2013;25(2):91-96

CORRESPONDENCE: Christine Lochner, MA, PhD PO Box 19063 Tygerberg 7505 South Africa E-MAIL: cl2@sun.ac.za
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2013 Frontline Medical Communications Inc.

 
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