Top critical review
Encourages children to define and view everything through OCD. Damaging and inexcusable.
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2020
I'm not going to lie - this workbook does an extreme injustice to the children they claim they're trying to help. SOMEONE needs to say it, so I'm going to. Please don't waste your money on this workbook. It's clear this workbook was whipped up hastily with little to NO thought as to how the wording and approach would impact childrens' self esteem and identity with this disorder as they go through the exercises. There's NO excuse for this.
You will also need to note before purchasing this for your child that at the time of this review, from what I've researched, Dr. Reuter only has about 5 years of total experience as a licensed clinical psychologist (plus 1 year residency). That's it, from what I see (you can simply google it) - so take that as you will. I highly urge everyone to do their homework as to the experience of licensed professionals who publish things like this for your children, especially ones who have disorders. Dr. Reuter's experience is short IMO, and it blatantly shows in this irresponsible workbook that could possibly be damaging to your kiddo in the long run.
I was hoping this book would be helpful for my teenage son, and while I like the exercises on the whole (taking the OCD part out of it), I did NOT like the fact that it makes the child view EVERYTHING through an identity of having OCD and managing everything they do, think, or say through an OCD lens. This is BEYOND damaging to a child and will likely follow them through the course of their life in negative ways. I can't fathom why Dr. Reuter and friends would have designed this in such a careless manner. As a parent to two special needs kiddos, I find this reprehensible and unacceptable - and this will NOT serve the child as they navigate the real world and their peers, nor will it serve their self esteem when trying to manage their disorder and trying to live the best possible quality of life they can.
Instead of establishing they may have OCD, giving them info about it (knowledge is power), and then outlining that it does not define them and does not reflect upon them as a person who is worthy just like everyone else (with self esteem exercises) - and then giving them healthy exercises and tools that may help their OCD and empower them...this workbook instead explains OCD to them (which is good) but then has exercises that constantly points out and reminds them over and over that they have OCD while they attempt to do the exercises - and they have to approach EVERYTHING through the identity of "having OCD" while learning tools and reframing things (through OCD only). This is just wrong and can be negative on SO many levels for a child, and I'm stunned ANY licensed psychologist put together a workbook in this manner for kids. It's thoroughly teaching the child that they are defined by their OCD by constantly reminding them that they have it in practically every. single. sentence. While it's helpful to reference the disorder here and there in some exercises, it's NOT helpful to teach children that everything must be viewed through their disorder first when learning and using healthy tools and coping skills.
This workbook is NOT "standing up to OCD" - this is ramming it into their heads in weird, subtle, damaging, and repetitive manners over and over again that they have OCD, their OCD controls their thoughts and behaviors, it's repeatedly implied their identity is defined by OCD, they're different, and everything they do and think and say is 100% OCD-related and they have to reframe it in those terms in order to "stand up to it." WRONG. That's ALLOWING "your OCD" to run everything about your life - even the parts that aren't necessarily affected by it - instead of the other way around.
I understand that kiddos should understand more about OCD when they are diagnosed by a medical professional, and they need to learn to identify sometimes when "it's the OCD talking" - but even THAT can be damaging when stated in such a manner (PS - an extremely UNHELPFUL AND TERRIBLE suggestion in this workbook for parents is to tell their child, "This is just your OCD talking," when they are struggling with their disorder. Nothing like a parent being DISMISSIVE and invalidating while your child struggles, right? HORRIBLE!!)) That just tells them that OCD controls them, after all, and comes across as incredibly dismissive to the child when they're struggling in the moment with the disorder. Telling them "that's just their OCD talking" does little to nothing in terms of helping them stop unwanted thoughts or behaviors. Perhaps that approach can work for adults, who have the capability to be more discerning (depending on their overall mental health), but it still doesn't get to the heart of the issue in terms of healthy change.
Having to constantly define everything blatantly through an "I have OCD" lens 100% on all the exercises and questions in the workbook is not something I think is healthy or helpful for children with a disorder, nor does it work to truly help them manage ANYTHING about it. It MIGHT make them disassociate the behavior from themselves, but it most likely will do the opposite - make them feel hopelessly that this disorder, which is out of their control yet "separate" from them, is still in charge of EVERYTHING...and blur the lines for which behavior/thoughts really come from "them" or "their disorder." In the end, as they are constantly being reminded that they have this disorder every time they approach a challenge or problem in life (which may or may not even be affected by their disorder), and the more confusing the lines are blurred as to which is "theirs" and which is "the disorder" in terms of what or who is responsible and how to tackle it, they may start to believe everything about them is about their disorder. A duality like that may be confusing enough for adults to sift through, much less children. Not ALL their thoughts and actions are controlled by the OCD. Not all situations in life pertain to it. Not to mention, what about the nonverbal kiddos with OCD - many of them with autism, ADHD and other co-morbid disorders? Do they have to mentally sift through each disorder with everything they do? "Is this my OCD talking? Is it my ADHD talking? Is it my autism talking?" What if they're unable to even understand that concept in the first place - now what? If I told my severely autistic, mostly nonverbal child (who has a lot of unwanted repetitive behaviors), "That's just the autism talking," with everything he tried to do that might be adversely affected due to his disorder, how do you think he will process that, and how will that improve anything? How does that resolve ANYTHING for the child and their behavior (or change anything about it, except make them feel helpless, bad, labeled, etc.), and the parents who are trying to help them? How is that sound, helpful advice for anyone?
I could be wrong, but I can only conclude that Dr. Reuter - with his blushingly short 5-year span of licensed clinical "experience" and "published work" here - doesn't have special needs kids with disorders of his own (or has truly been around them for meaningful amounts of time - as in, spent weeks or months at a time living with them), else he would have never published something as ridiculous as this for the parents and their kids. He's completely out of touch with the whole picture and the whole child. The approach of mental health treatment primarily being informed by research and labeling can look great in theory and on paper - but our challenged kiddos need far, far more than just that. Even five years of experience as a licensed clinical psychologist should have taught him (and his "team" who helped him with this useless "workbook") that, buuuut...apparently not. Here's your sign.
I am SO thankful my children work with REAL professional teams with the right well-rounded experiences in these areas - medical professionals that are actually compassionate, offer sound and realistic advice, have ACTUAL multi-level experience that is more than a handful of years of "research" based treatment (and they are top in their fields of research, too), and offer helpful and actionable plans that don't define or confuse my kiddos, yet provide real support, sound advice, and excellent resources for both the parents and children. They see the smaller picture, and ALSO the bigger picture. YES, professionals like this DO exist! Not to mention, they are always working with us to help our kiddos build good self esteem the whole way, in addition to working on healthy ways they can navigate in this world despite their disorders, meeting them right where they're at. They do NOT label them or define them by their disorders, or constantly remind them about their disorder when using and learning new healthy coping tools and skills that can be applied to a wide variety of things in their lives (in addition more specifically to their disorder). I can't stress enough to parents to make sure they pick good medical professionals to help them navigate this stuff, because you will NOT find it in books or research papers. That said, I was hoping this workbook would be a positive supplement to all of that - but I was wrong, in this case. Not all medical professionals in this field are created equal, apparently. I would suggest going to your medical professional team first and asking them what workbook is best for your child and their disorders to help them out.
I asked my oldest teen son what he thought about the workbook, if he had OCD (he has other special needs with related issues), and he flipped through it for a while, reading. He finally said, "I learned a lot about OCD, and the exercises seem easy and make you think...but this workbook would make me feel really depressed and bad about myself if I had OCD, even though some stuff looks kinda positive...sorta."
'Nuff said. Who wants their kids struggling with disorders to feel worse about themselves than they already may feel? I do NOT recommend this workbook.