Mindset Family Therapy

Mindset | Blog

Before It Knocks You Down


A while ago, I met a client whose family loved the ocean.  Every opportunity they had to go on vacation, they chose a place where they could body surf.  I asked him to tell me the skills one requires to succeed at this pastime many ocean fans enjoy.  I find the parallels useful in understanding treatment for OCD.  I especially use these comparisons when my clients love the ocean also.

Body surfing:

  1. Patience is king if you want to learn the trade.
  2. Learning to recognize the waves is important so you know what to do.
  3. Be in good physical condition.  You need to know how to swim and tread water, in case the ocean water flows high and you can’t touch the ocean floor.
  4. When the wave comes, go under it or ride it before it knocks you down.
  5. Take breaks.  Don’t exhaust yourself.
  6. Body surfing is more fun when you are with others.


  1. Learning the skills takes patience and work.
  2. Recognize your particular OCD issues so that you can “tackle” them when they come.  Do not stop doing exposures.
  3. Practice your skills and be ready when stress triggers OCD to a higher point.
  4. You can decide whether you will allow anxiety to creep in or ride it before it knocks you down.
  5. You may have OCD but your life is NOT OCD.  Enjoy life and focus on what you value most.
  6. The right support from your friends and family members is essential in your recovery.

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