View original article published in Psych Central– Noah didn’t care for ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) therapy despite his struggles with harm OCD. Stories that he had heard from acquaintances and friends were not positive. In fact, one of his friends felt traumatized by ERP. He also indicated that he was asked by his previous mental health counselor to sit in front of a bunch of knives so he could habituate or get used to the feelings and sensations the knives created. He said he had already been around sharp knives for three weeks while working at a knife shop temporarily while he looked for another job. His excruciating anxiety was off the charts. “I basically white-knuckled each day until I found a better job. I was exposed to k
View original article published in Psych Central – “Are you sure I have OCD?” “What if it is something else?” “Am I going crazy?” “Are these thoughts normal?” These are among many questions individuals struggling with OCD ask themselves. Even when they have been thoroughly assessed and diagnosed with OCD by their mental health provider, sufferers’ doubts and the need for reassurance seeking continues. It has been said that OCD is the doubting disease. Uncertainty is the driving force behind OCD. The need to know the consequence of their thoughts or behaviors leads individuals to compulsions. When OCD targets individual’s fears of contamination, they reassure themselves by doing compulsions such as washing and avoiding certain substances. W
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
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
[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?”
[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
Those challenged by OCD most likely have tried to stop the “waves” to no avail. It’s easier to “surf” them rather than fight them. You can learn to accept and tolerate uncertainty and doubt. Love the quote!
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