Questions for Book Clubs and OCD Support Groups

As I share in Fred, I come from a family of book worms, and I know how enriching book clubs can be. Below you’ll find three sets of questions that book clubs and OCD support groups can use for discussions about Fred.

I am also happy to do live Q&A sessions via Skype or phone for book clubs or support groups discussing Fred.  If you’re interested, just fill out one of the forms below and I’ll be in touch. I look forward to hearing from you, and happy reading!

General Discussion Questions

  1. Did Fred change your perception or understanding of OCD and BDD? If so, how?
  2. Are there aspects of Shala’s Quest for distraction, perfection, and absolution that are present in your own life? If so, how have they affected you?
  3. As Shala’s journey illustrates, children can be remarkably resilient in the face of adversity. Share a time when you as a child or another child in your life developed coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations. Were these ways to cope helpful in the long term?
  4. Many people, especially young adults, struggle with body image issues, even if they don’t have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). How does culture affect these struggles both positively and negatively?
  5. OCD creates a tremendous amount of shame in the people who have it. How have you dealt with shame in your own life?
  6. We often hear “I’m so OCD” to describe being neat, meticulous, or detail-oriented. How does reading about what OCD is really like change your perception of that phrase? What might you share with someone about the disorder if you heard that phrase used in everyday conversation?
  7. Can you use Shala’s New Rule #1 in your own life? How?
  8. What do you think of the ideas of wearing bracelets to remind you of new life perspectives?
  9. While the author has tamed her OCD and BDD (mostly…), she still deals with workaholism issues. Have you or anyone you loved been affected by workaholism or other addictions? How has it affected you and your family?
  10. How could you employ Shoulders Back in your own life with general anxiety and worries?
  11. One of the themes of the book is turning adversity into advocacy. In what ways have you or others in your life used personal adversity to help other people?
  12. What was most surprising about what you read in Fred?
  13. What was your biggest takeaway from the book?

“A fascinating read filled with hope and inspiration.
You’ll cry, you’ll cheer, and you’ll put your shoulders back with Shala as she conquers the OCD demon.”
—Randy O. Frost, PhD, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Questions for Readers with Family Members who have OCD

  1. What insight does Fred offer for what your loved one has faced or is facing?
  2. Having a loved one with OCD creates a panoply of emotions, including disbelief, frustration, compassion, sadness, and guilt, just to name a few. Did reading Fred change any of your emotional responses to your loved one’s suffering? If so, how?
  3. How were the reactions of Shala’s loved ones, including her parents, Alex, and Corey, to her OCD similar or dissimilar to your own reactions to your loved one’s OCD?
  4. How has your loved one convinced you to particular in rituals, like Shala did with Corey?
  5. Read the Acknowledgements section. What do you think of Shala’s assertion that “it takes a village to recover from major mental illness”?
  6. What resources have you found to help you better help your loved one? (Hint, hint….if you don’t know about When a Family Member Has OCD by Shala’s Everyday Mindfulness for OCD coauthor Jon Hershfield, MFT, check it out!)
  7. If your loved one, like Shala, has multiple disorders, discuss how that has impacted his/her recovery.
  8. What can you do to help your loved one reduce the shame s/he feels from having OCD?
  9. What’s the most important insight that you learned from Fred that will help you as a partner in your loved one’s journey to recovery?

“If you have had trouble understanding just how interfering OCD can be in one’s life,
you won’t after reading this book.”
—Patrick McGrath, PhD, author of The OCD Answer Book

“This book provides the reader with key elements that would greatly benefit everyone with OCD as well as their friends and family who are trying to understand this debilitating disorder.”
—Becky Beaton, PhD, founder of The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute and The Knowledge Tree

Questions for OCD Support Groups

  1. What could you relate to most about Shala’s journey?
  2. Do you have a “Rule #1?” If so, what would it be like or has it been like to break it?
  3. Shala shares stories that chronicle the development of many tools she uses to manage her OCD, including “may or may not” statements, Shoulders Back, self-compassion, personifying her disorder, mindfulness, turning her life into a giant push-yourself-out-of-your-comfort-zone exposure, turning adversity into advocacy, choosing to see the universe as friendly, the Four Keys, and her New Rule #1. Which of these would you like to try? Or if you tried one or more, how did they work for you?
  4. Did you, like Shala, see multiple therapists before finding one who offered exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy for OCD? If so, how have you managed your own frustration with the process of trying to get the right help?
  5. Shala takes a “bring it on!” attitude towards her OCD. Why do you think that’s so effective?
  6. Read Reid Wilson’s Afterword. What’s most important for you about how he’s recommending readers implement Shala’s strategies?
  7. How have other disorders you may have (like Shala’s BDD and depression) affected your overall recovery?
  8. Shala discussed the Four Keys Out When Locked in Doubt in Chapter 18. How might you use those to motivate yourself to do your ERP?
  9. What do you think about the last page of Fred, about Shala’s attitude toward her OCD?
  10. What’s the one thing you can do differently to strengthen your recovery from OCD based on what you read in Fred?

“It’s not some historical record of triumph, but rather the backstory to a truly inspiring, still-unfolding tale … that Shala continues to write day after day. And the hard-earned wisdom she has committed to share here and in all her work can and will change your life.”
—Jeff Bell, author of Rewind, Replay, Repeat

Is Fred in the Refrigerator?: Taming OCD and Reclaiming My Life is available for purchase on Amazon, Audible, and other online book retailers. Photographs in the top banner by Sabrina Fattal Photography.

Learn more about Fred, including reviews, excerpts, music, the media kit and more by mousing over Books and then Is Fred in the Refrigerator? in the navigation above.