How to Tell If Your Treatment is Working
In most cases, CBT (and, for that matter, medication, or both together) will work gradually. It may take a while for you to notice any progress. One way for you to measure your improvement is to write down your symptoms. Rating their severity on a one-to-ten scale can be helpful, and may enable you to see small changes as they occur. You might do this with your therapist or on your own.
Checking Your Own Progress
Start by writing down a list of the things and situations you fear, or (for example, in the case of cleaning rituals) those that cause you discomfort. If you can, use the psychologist method of “rating” the anxiety you feel about each one on a scale of one to ten (ten being strongest, one being not so bad).
Check back weekly to measure your current level of discomfort with those objects or circumstances, and expect to see it subsiding. This should give you a good idea of how well your treatment is working (or not).
If you feel as if you are enjoying a good rapport with your therapist and are making progress, of course you will want to continue. If you definitely feel the opposite, you will undoubtedly want to explore other options. However, if you're not certain whether your therapy is working, you may simply want to give it some more time (and possibly extra effort), and evaluate it again a little later.
Will I ever be able to stop taking my medication?
Quite possibly. If you've been making progress with CBT, it may be fine for you to stop taking your OCD medication. Ask your prescribing doctor and therapist, who will help you slowly discontinue any medications that require you to decrease dosages gradually before stopping altogether.
Simultaneously, you may want to talk with your therapist specifically about what you feel isn't working well enough, or what areas, if any, you would rather focus on. Therapy, especially one-on-one, should be flexible enough to allow for changes and adjustments.
Will It Ever Go Away?
Although OCD can be managed very effectively, it's unlikely that it will ever actually “go away” completely. However, it's more than likely that your OCD can “go away enough” so that it won't continue to make problems for you.
If you feel “stuck” in your therapy, do discuss your feelings with your therapist. Also, ask yourself honestly whether it's a bad professional match or whether you're resistant to treatment for some other reason, such as fear of doing the prescribed CBT.
That is, you might, for example, be able to pick up objects that have fallen on the floor, but still not feel comfortable taking off your shoes and running around barefoot on the carpet. You may in time be able to discard a greater number of useless things, but not become exactly monastic in your living style. It's a matter of degrees.
Most likely, your OCD can be managed to the point at which it's no longer a big problem for you. OCD is considered a chronic condition, but it does not have to remain debilitating. (And who knows? Not that long ago, OCD was considered absolutely hopeless.) Treating OCD successfully is kind of like turning a lion into a housecat: It will still be there; it just won't be dangerous or disruptive, at least to the same degree that it once was.