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The Before and After… by Nancy Larsen, MSW, CSW

9.21.16

In therapy, I often use art as a tool to help clients externalize their experience with OCD. This technique assists the client in expressing how OCD affects their life by using color; giving their OCD a name, a shape and a face. When I first mention to clients that they will be finger painting in session, they often have a surprised look on their face. Most of their comments go something like this, “Finger painting. Seriously? I haven’t finger painted since I was in…kindergarten.”  Although some are hesitant when they first start their painting, I find it is not long before they begin to get into their work and create what I call a masterpiece. Below you will find artwork done by a few of my clients. Each client was

Talking To Your Child About OCD

10.15.15

Sometimes parents hesitate telling their children that they have OCD. Their reasons may vary, but the most common reasons are the following: They worry about the stigma that surrounds OCD, and the possible negative effects on their child. They don’t want their child to be labeled, treated, or looked at differently. They wish to avoid hurt feelings for their child. They worry their child may feel broken or that something is wrong with them. They don’t want their child’s confidence to suffer. On the other hand, consider why talking about it may be a better option: When children don’t understand what is happening to them, they figure out their own solution. The danger is that their solution may not be correct. When you talk about OCD for w

Is OCD bullying You? You Now Have Options

10.13.15

According to Stopbullying.gov “bullying …involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” They also state that those that are bullied “may have serious, lasting problems.” This definition sounds very much like the relationship many individuals experience with OCD. Is OCD bullying you? Is there a power imbalance? Who is calling the shots every day? Is OCD causing serious and lasting problems? It doesn’t have to be that way! For starters, you need to know the best way to deal with your bully (OCD), and here are some suggestions. When dealing with the OCD bully, DO NOT: Fight or argue with OCD. This actually reinforces the thinking patterns. Ignore OCD. Advice for dealin

Relationship OCD and the Doors of Uncertainty

10.11.15

[View original article published in Psych Central here] When Adam was about 9 years old, he began to experience contamination obsessive-compulsive disorder. At 14, his fears about possibly getting sick subsided, but he began questioning his religious and moral values. His OCD had morphed. Throughout his high school years, he experienced scrupulosity OCD. His first year in college, he dated on and off, and his OCD continued to target his religion. Then, he met someone special and got married, but he did not live happily ever after. One year into his marriage, he began to question his relationship. He often wondered, “Did I make the right choice? Do I really love my wife? What would my life be like if I had I married my previous girlfriend?”

6 Things You Need to Know Before Starting OCD Treatment

6.8.15

[View original article published in Psych Central here] If you suffer from OCD, you likely feel exhausted every day. The anxiety and tormenting thoughts may lead you to internal and external rituals. These compulsions provide relief — at least temporarily. You probably wish there was a magic pill or treatment that could take the suffering away permanently. If you were told that the answer to a better life is found at the top of a high mountain, would you be willing to climb it? You would be warned, “It will be a stormy and an arduous ascend, but once you get to the top, you’ll find what you are looking for!” Would you take the chance and do what it takes to get there? It could be the hardest thing you’ve done in your life. Would you still

Is it OCD, OCPD, or What?

3.10.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Grace is obsessed about order and having things “just so.” She is constantly checking for symmetry in her surroundings. The time she spends ordering and organizing her things is disrupting her life. She spends excessive time on details and often gets stuck while doing or undoing things until she feels “right” about the situation. This causes her a great deal of distress. Her motivation in doing her rituals is to decrease anxiety and uncertainty about her feared consequence (having a panic attack). Does Grace have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Patrick needs things to be perfect and orderly. He is a perfectionist and is preoccupied with details and making lists. His perfectionism

Scrupulosity: When OCD Targets Your Religious and Moral Values

1.14.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Whenever Marian was exposed to religious issues, she felt overwhelmed by doubt, guilt and anxiety. She had been steadfast in her devotion since childhood. Lately, though, she’d try to avoid anything or anyone that triggered her spiritual obsessions. Her loved ones were puzzled because her commitment had been extraordinary. Conflicting worries consumed her mind and she was becoming depressed. Marian’s example of scrupulosity is one of many variations a sufferer may have with this type of OCD. Sometimes individuals with scrupulosity aren’t religious but feel hyper-responsible to their moral standards. The fact is that once in a while, religious individuals may experience doubts, guilt, re

What is OCD? OCD Awareness #OCDWeek 2014

10.14.14

If you aren’t sure what OCD is, watch this short video.  It will enlighten you. Source:  IOCDF.ORG

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

8.21.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready. Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation. Deciding when to talk to school staff. There are various types of OCD and severity will

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