“I immediately recognized Gateway had what I needed; a safe environment with knowledgeable staff where I could overcome my OCD.”


“I would recommend anyone dealing with OCD / PTSD / Panic Attacks should contact The Gateway Institute.”


“At The Gateway institute, you are in the right place. Trust yourself to get help. There is HOPE and even though your OCD is probably saying, “he could do it, but I can’t”, there are tools to transform your life from where you are right now. I too had given up on my life and myself. ”


“I’m thankful that I found The Gateway Institute and that they were able to help me gain myself and sanity back. My OCD arrives every now and then but now I have the tools to deal with it as it arrives. And I continue to stay in control of my life.â”


We would like the give you a heart felt thank you for treating our son, for his OCD. After the three week intensive for the scrupulosity form of OCD, he was able to attempt to complete college. He started with a single class (anatomy), and finishedwith an A grade. With that success, he enrolled in a full schedule of classes at Cal State Fullerton, and this Sunday, 5/20, will graduate with a Bachelors degree in Human Services. His next goal is a master’s degree in Nursing. We are so thankful for the help that you gave him, and know this would have been impossible without the treatment that you provided.

When I first spoke to you, I asked you if I could speak to a couple of your clients before we considered treatment. You gave me the numbers of two clients, and I found it very helpful to talk to both of them. I knew our son would be happy to speak to anyone suffering with OCD, and I would love to encourage any parent who is considering treatment for their child to speak with others that have been in the program.

When our son walks up on stage to get his diploma on Sunday, we will be thanking God for everyone who helped him along the way, and wanted to especially thank you.

Our warmest thanks,


Our 13 year old son was struggling with OCD/anxiety to the point where he couldn’t even go to school.  His fears were all consuming and crippling. He would start shaking, hyperventilating and just lockup. We didn’t know what to do. He would wake up every couple hours during the night from dreams of terrible fears, and his whole body would shake from the anxiety. He was in a downward spiral over several weeks with ever worsening fears that he would someday do bad things or have something bad happen to him and his life would be ruined or even ended. Eventually he could no longer function in day to day life due to the panic attacks. He would repeatedly ask us to tell him everything was going to be okay but no matter how we would reassure him the panic attacks would continue. We tried weekly therapy sessions but between sessions he just kept getting worse. We had no idea what was happening to him or how to deal with it. We even took to the hospital to try and get any help we could for him.  They recommend intense outpatient therapy but there was nothing out there for kids, only adults.  We were at a loss. Finally through research we came across Gateway Institute in Scottsdale, AZ.  They had a location in California that had shown great success working with kids and they were opening a new location here in AZ. We contacted them via email with a description of our son’s condition and one of their therapists, Sara Brungardt, agreed to meet us the very next day. She was able to explain to us what OCD is and that what our son was going through is a known condition the people at Gateway have experience with and have successfully treated. Our son started a 3-week intense outpatient therapy plan at Gateway Institute soon after. The first week of exposure response therapy was difficult for him, but by the end of the third week he had mostly returned to his old self and was able to function in day to day life again. He has continued to improve week to week by using the techniques he learned from Gateway Institute. He still has some struggles with anxieties but the methods he learned at Gateway for dealing with them make it possible for him to quickly recognize and gain control of his response to the fears so he can move on. We cannot say enough about the great job Gateway did getting our son back on his feet and returning him to a normal life. This was an answer to our prayers.  We had gotten our son back.  Yes it is something he will always have but thanks to Sara and Gateway he now has the tools and the ability to deal with OCD/anxiety.

I wrote to Jim when I had pretty much given up on myself and my life. I had been on meds for years, had tried coming off without any tools and luckily I was able to find Jim. I had given up and no longer wanted to live, not that I wanted to kill myself BUT as you might know with OCD tendencies, they can take over your life and make it so you no longer are living, you are just surviving. Surviving in a life that you don’t want. One that is filled with bondage, anxiety, fear and insecurities. You are stuck in patterns that have never supported your world, only taken you away farther and farther from your true self.

By the time I emailed Jim I was done and could no longer continue living this way. Jim, recognized that I needed help and as you see with his reply he immediately started supporting me and showing me that he truly cares. I honestly couldn’t believe that he replied the way he did, that it was no big deal and that “I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss various treatment options.” This to me was such a shock, that with all of the blunt open honesty about how scared, hurt, alone, feeling like I am going crazy, etc. didn’t affect him at all. It was no big deal. I am in the trenches in an ongoing war inside myself and he has no problem with me bringing that to his office. Not only that he is “happy” to have it come to his office.

So by the time I showed up at Jim’s office my mind was looping continuously, thoughts like “I am crazy, I am going to end up in an insane asylum, I don’t feel safe, I am going to hurt someone or myself, I can’t do this, I am not going to be able to get through this, etc.” Alongside these thoughts I was also dealing with panic attacks and not sleeping real well. I let him know all of this and he affirmed to me that this is all common for people with OCD, that I am safe and that he knows without a doubt that he can help me. I knew immediately that even though I was feeling desperate, hopeless, afraid, and overwhelmedthat by his reaction, his training and confidence in himself and his work that I was in the right place. Leaving Jim’s office that day I felt like “thank you god for sending me to Jim.”

Now the hard part… As we moved through the first week Jim asked me to start tracking the obsessive thoughts and compulsions that were going on for me. I ended up filling 5 pages of about 100 thoughts that were constantly swirling my mind and taking my personal peace every moment of the day. I also had compulsions that were affecting me as well. I know that once I sat down andlooked at this mound of thoughts that I didn’t know how to heal or change and that my OCD immediately told me “you will never beat me, you are powerless, just give up, life is over, etc.” That was probably the most depressing day of my life. Because as you probably know, you are your OCD are one until you get help, anything it say’s you believe. There is no separation from me B.W. and my OCD. Because of the way it works within your mind you have no way of separating yourself from it even though that is all that you are trying to do. There is no way of letting go of it or getting away from it. So realizing this mound of fears, thoughts, and compulsions I felt life was over and that there was no way that Jim could help me, and no way that I could ever heal my life. I had given up. I no longer wanted to live. I contacted Jim once I realized this within and he had me come in to see him immediately. He recognized the space I was in he said “together we can do this, stick with me, show up 3 times a week and we will get through this.” I thought to myself that I had nothing to lose, let’s continue forward. By kicking up our meetings to 3 times a week we were able to better address what was going on. It also allowed me to stay focused and feel safe during this time. If we went for too long without an appointment early on it felt like my OCD would take over. That in my opinion it seemed as though my OCD knew that I was trying to eradicate it and was fighting even harder to remain within me.

As we continued down the road of renewal, Jim would teach me all of the tools and techniques for how to deal with my OCD; writing my thoughts and compulsionsdown, doing narratives on those thoughts, and being able to handle my thoughts in the moment by using simple techniques that would rob my OCD of any power. We would also begin the journey of separating me from my OCD, and given me the self awareness to see when it is my OCD and when it is me. I found that the moment of awakening from my OCD came for me while I was doing a narrative in Jim’soffice. That even though I was feeling they weren’t working all of a sudden one day a thought broke, that FINALLY I was able to see how hilarious this thought was and immediately it felt as if this HUGE mountain crumbled to the sea. I was able to see immediately that I no longer needed to fear this thought that had been rapping me from my life for almost 9 years. Once this happened I saw immediately that I could get through this, that Jim was right and that there is a way through OCD. Once I saw that one thought could crumble, I found that I was driven within and immediately wanted all my thoughts to do the same. Over the next two weeks I hit the narratives day and night and would begin laughing at work, at home, in Jim’s office. Laughing at how silly all of these thoughts were that had taken control of my life, even though I knew then that they weren’t real I had no way of protecting myself from them. Now with Jim’s support, encouragement and tools I had finally found a way out.

Once I was able to start truly separating myself recognizing the thoughts in themoment, I was able to free myself from OCD. It felt as if this dam that I was holding up thinking that would protect me from my OCD finally gave way and my life was transformed within a matter of weeks. It happened so rapidly that I was able to stop seeing Jim 3 times a week and we continued sporadically whenever anything came up that I needed support with. That literally all 5 pages of thoughts and compulsions were done. My OCD realized I had taken mypower back and that I had stole its power and it no longer showed up anymore. Finally after 9 years, FREEDOM…

Without Jim I would not be where I am today. Without his encouragement, confidence, and friendly nature I would have been able to keep going at the darkest time in my life. I thank god that I found Jim and that he was able to help me gain myself and sanity back. I still have things arrive every now and then but now I have the tools to deal with them as they arrive. And I continue to stay in charge of my life, not my OCD.
I would recommend anyone that is dealing with OCD/ PTSD/ Panic Attacks to go and see Jim. Not only was Jim a huge catalyst for my healing of obsessive unwanted thoughts and compulsions by teaching me the tools and techniques needed but he was also a great coach and finally, he also became a friend in the process.

I would like to say to those of you that are reading this that you are in theright place. Trust yourself and allow yourself to get help. That there is HOPE and even though your OCD is probably saying “he could do it, but I can’t”, that there are tools to transform your life from where you are right now. I too had given up on myself and my life and thought this is how I will always be and there is no way someone or something can change where I am at. BUT there is and for me it was seeing Jim and working his techniques until my OCD realized that I am in charge now. If you are willing to show up and change your world I know that Jim will meet you there and walk with you until you get to that point where freedom has arrived for you as well. I hope you always remember you can do this, you are not your OCD, and you are capable of getting thru to the other side.

Thank you Jim,

My nearly lifelong struggle with OCD led me to seek treatment at the Gateway Institute. Under the direction of Jim Sterner, I successfully completed the intensive treatment program. Through a combination of Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and following through on my exposure assignments, I was able to achieve victory over my OCD.

An integral part of my success in treatment is related to the direction I received through the relapse prevention program, as well as through the weekly support group. Learning how to consistently utilize ERP helped to prevent me from slipping back into my patterns of OCD. The accountability I received from the support group was, and continues to be, a key factor in keeping me on track.

The monthly support group for Family and loved ones of those who suffer from OCD has been another facet in my recovery process. I now assist in facilitating the monthly support group. It is very rewarding and encouraging for me to help others in their struggle with OCD, and to experience their progress in overcoming OCD.

As a result of my dedication and commitment to the treatment program at the Gateway Institute, I now experience a freedom from OCD which allows me to pursue new paths of opportunity and peace in my life. ~JK

I would absolutely recommend this to someone else with OCD. The staff at Gateway seemed like the first and only people in my entire life who seem to really understand exactly what I’ve been struggling with. Not only that, but also how to combat it, and allow me to live a better life. ~ JH

Words cannot express the impact that The Gateway Institute has had on my life. I am nearly 25 years old and have been suffering from OCD and BDD for about 3/4 of my life. After seeking treatment at Gateway, I am finally starting to discover who I really am, without OCD and BDD. I have a better life than I ever could have imagined possible because I put my trust in the staff at Gateway. Truly a life changing experience. ~ M.R. 

I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for all that you’ve done for me. You’ve helped me through some of the toughest situations in my life and have given me the tools I need to move forward. I’m continuing to expose myself every day and little by little I’m beginning to feel more freedom. It truly is a blessing having met you. Thank you for helping me get my life back. ~ J.J.

Dear Gateway,

Thank you so much for helping me. I really appreciate everything you’ve done. I will continue to use all the techniques you’ve showed me. Thank you for everything. ~M.P.

Dear Jim,

It has been a pleasure having you as my therapist. Thank you so much for all the therapy and advice you’ve given me. I’m looking forward to an OCD-free future. Thank you. ~S.H.


I’m so thankful to have you in my life. Your teams support in me has motivated me to push myself harder and opened up all the possibilities for a new life. The past 3 weeks have been a huge eye open for me. You’ve changed my life. THANK YOU! ~B.J.


I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for all that you’ve done for me. You’ve helped me through some of the toughest situations in my life and have given me the tools I need to move forward. Because of your support I came home and had the confidence to expose myself to everything in the house that bothered me. I’m continuing to “expose” myself to the “contamination” in the house every day and little by little, I’m beginning to feel more freedom. It truly is a blessing to have been to your treatment center. Thank you for helping me get my life back! ~J.K.