My child suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Every day we struggle to beat the bully in his brain. Anxiety levels are at an all-time high. He hates his OCD. He wants to get rid of it. He wants to be in control of himself. He wants to beat his OCD.
Of course, our first step when we realized my son’s behaviors were characteristic of OCD was to see a therapist that specialized in Exposure and Response Therapy (ERP), the recommended therapy to combat OCD. The first thing my son’s therapist asked us to do was to role-play.
I thought this would be simple, easy, and fun. My son would get to tell me to “be quiet,” “leave me alone,” and “your not my boss” without getting into any trouble. Honestly, I didn’t anticipate the anxiety that was about to be unleashed.
The first time I acted like I was his OCD and told him to “put your glasses on over and over until it feels right” he started screaming. But he wasn’t screaming at his OCD to “be quiet.” No…he was screaming at me to stop acting like his OCD.
He refused to do the role-playing.
I was at a loss. Role-playing is an important part of therapy for OCD. The role-playing teaches him to say no to his OCD. It gives him the chance to stand up for himself, to boss back his OCD. It gives us the opportunity to talk about how his OCD bothers him and how we could work together to overcome it.
Instead, the role-playing therapy was causing extreme anxiety. It wasn’t going to happen. I felt defeated. His OCD was defeating us both.
I could not let that happen. I had to stand up for my child. I had to stand up for myself. We both wanted the therapy to work. We were tired of being the victims of OCD. I had to think outside the box if this was going to work for us.
This is how Beat Buster originated. What is Beat Buster? Beat Buster is a completely customizable game that is intended to help children diagnosed with OCD to engage in role-playing as part of the therapeutic process to help them boss back their OCD and take control of their lives. It takes the anxiety out of the therapeutic process and makes this part of therapy for OCD fun.
Beat Buster is much more than just teaching your child to say no to their OCD and to not give into their compulsions. It’s a chance for you and your child to actually sit down and discuss their compulsions, what the obsessions are behind them that drives them to listen to the OCD and perform the compulsions. It gives your child the chance to learn to say no, be quiet, you are not my boss and much more to their OCD. And most importantly, this game is designed so that the child wins, reinforcing the idea that if they fight their OCD, they will beat the OCD.
This game was first hand drawn on an oversized piece of card stock. My son and I both enjoyed it and even my daughter couldn’t wait to get in on the fun. After taking some time to redesign the game so that it was customizable for all kids that struggle with OCD and anxiety, I’m excited to now offer the game to you. The game comes complete with a customizable game board, instructions, and tips on how to play. All you’ll need is some game pieces and a dice. My son drew a picture of his perception of Buster (his OCD) and I laminated it. I used the picture of Buster and a picture of him for our game pieces.