Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Counseling
People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often feel stuck when their OCD symptoms appear, and they may feel as if they are walking in circles; hoping to get somewhere but go around and around in a tiresome loop of thoughts. They may even seem distracted to others around them, while they try to figure out how to escape the thought loop. They will often try to somehow reassure themselves that they are okay and that it is okay to move on with the rest of their day.
Some common OCD themes include
- Fear of contamination from germs, dirt, or chemicals
- Fear of losing control of oneself
- Fear of doing even small things that would go against one’s personal moral values or religious beliefs (known as scrupulosity)
- Fear of unwanted sexual thoughts
- Fear of getting a physical illness
Some common compulsions or rituals that are used to reduce the fears include
- Frequent washing and cleaning
- Checking to see that no one was harmed or that no mistake was made
- Seeking reassurance from themselves, from other people, or from God
- Repetitive counting or use of gestures
There is effective treatment for OCD. Research studies suggest that the most effective treatment for OCD is Exposure and Response Prevention, which is also the approach your therapist will use.
Exposure in ERP refers to confronting the thoughts and situations that make the person with OCD anxious.
Response Prevention in ERP means choosing not to do a compulsive behavior after coming into contact with the thoughts and situations that make the person anxious. This approach to treatment requires tolerating some discomfort on the way to learning to manage the symptoms effectively.