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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

You can Defy OCD!

8.11.14

The statement by Van Gogh can be true for anyone that learns how to defy OCD.  It can be done! It’s not easy but it’s possible! Anxiety, guilt, and doubt are the prevalent feelings experienced by OCD sufferers.  They have difficulty tolerating these emotions.  When individuals are triggered and begin to obsess, they become overwhelmed by their feelings and will do whatever it takes to avoid feeling that way. For instance, James had fears of emotional contamination.  He’d rather avoid certain friends than take the chance of experiencing a panic attack.  Linda had fears of losing her faith and would stay away from triggers that produced anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty.  Roy was worried about being near anyone that may carry an infectious dise

What Can Parents Do When OCD Sneaks In?

7.8.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Megan felt miserable. She and her family had relocated in the middle of the school year to another city. She was missing her friends and changes were difficult for her. It seemed the problems began one morning when she was getting ready for school. While washing her hair, she thought she had swallowed some of the shampoo. She wondered if it was toxic. She worried she’d get sick and die. She rinsed her mouth incessantly until she felt safe. “Is it poisonous?” she would ask her mom, every day before taking a shower. Her mom would reassure her that it was harmless. But Megan wasn’t satisfied with the answer. She couldn’t take a chance and took safety measures each time. Soon, her worries

When OCD Targets Your Relationship

5.6.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Chuck said he wasn’t sure if he really loved his fiancée. Yes, there were times, when he was certain he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. But lately, the doubts were constant and he thought he should break the engagement. The wedding was two weeks away. He had experienced obsessive-compulsive disorder challenges since he was a teenager. He had mistakenly learned to deal with the symptoms by rationalizing and neutralizing his thoughts, thus he didn’t think his doubts about his fiancée had anything to do with OCD. Experiencing the jitters and cold feet can be a normal reaction to this significant milestone. So, was it a big deal? On the phone he informed me his family had in

OCD Metaphors to Reduce Reassurance Seeking

2.16.14

Rick was eighteen when he came in for his first session.  His main goal was to learn ways to get rid of his “bad” thoughts and the anxiety and guilt that accompanied those obsessions.  “They are torturing me,” he said.  We reviewed the OCD cycle and learned the necessary steps to start interrupting it. Rick knew the triggers that caused his obsessive thoughts and how they brought excruciating anxiety and guilt.  He was surprised to learn that his singing, praying, and reciting were compulsions that were reinforcing the OCD cycle.  He mistakenly believed that compulsions were supposed to be “weird” or silly behaviors.  He found out that anything he did to find relief was actually a compulsion. He said, “Sometimes I analyze my thoughts and t

OCD & Perfectionism

10.18.13

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Patty was feeling frustrated and depressed. No matter what she tried, she felt she was stuck. As a young child, she remembers she would come unglued if anyone walked in her room and messed up her belongings. She would arrange and rearrange things until they felt just right. When going to school, she remembered asking her mom if her hair looked perfect. Her mom would say, “You look beautiful!” Patty didn’t believe her. She would ask her mom to fix it better, or she would try to do it herself until it felt right. She wanted to be the best at everything she tried, but when things didn’t go as she expected, sadness and depression ensued. Her all-or-nothing thinking was getting in the way

Mindset Family Therapy

The Power of Vulnerability and OCD….

5.27.13

Brené Brown’s presentation resonates with me in many ways. As I hear her words while wearing my OCD therapist hat, I believe individuals struggling with OCD could benefit greatly from her perspective. These are some of the points I’d like to emphasize: 1. She talks about the shame people experience because they believe they may not “be good enough.”  They fear that if others see their true selves, they won’t be worthy of connection. –In my practice, I help my clients who may be experiencing this shame and fear.  They have often formed negative core beliefs. I help them identify them and work through them so their treatment can be successful. 2. In her research she found that “whole-hearted people” have a strong sense of courage to be imperf

Curing the Doubt

9.22.12

Anxiety is something you want to keep at bay. You probably avoid and do whatever it takes to find relief.  Despite hearing and reading “there is no cure” for OCD, you most likely keep your guard up to find at least a few seconds without the doubt.   Curing a doubt becomes a debt that goes out of control just like those loans people get at the Pay-day Loans Companies.  “I’ll pay this debt as soon as I get paid” you tell yourself.  Unfortunately, the days, weeks and months go by and what began as an immediate and small loan has become an insurmountable debt you have to pay.   What happens when you want to cure the doubt? Logically, satisfying the doubt should work similarly to satisfying your thirst.  When thirsty, you gulp a bottle

When Once Is Not Enough

8.28.12

[View original article published in Psych Central here] “Say good-night mommy, say good-night,” pleaded Johnny every night. It wasn’t as if he had not already read several books, been tucked in, and kissed good night. Johnny’s pleas continued every night. After the third or fourth nagging requests, she would get irritated and say, “I am done! This is the last one. Good night!” Johnny would cry and ask for more “good nights.” Mom didn’t know it at the time, but she was reinforcing Johnny’s need for reassurance. One “goodnight” was not enough, but neither were ten. Ritualized hand-washing or other grooming compulsions were absent. There didn’t seem to be any checking compulsions. If there had been, Johnny’s parents probably would have sough

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