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Tug-of-War with the OCD Monster

5.1.19

When you struggle with OCD, it may feel like you are constantly fighting a monster that just won’t go away. Day in and day out you keep fighting it, and you feel exhausted. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) researchers and clinicians use the Tug-of War with a Monster metaphor to help people realize that there are better options than fighting their thoughts and feelings each day of their lives. Let’s pretend that your fears and doubts are like a big, hideous, and strong monster. You hate it, and you want to destroy it. The monster is holding one end of the rope and you are at the other end. In between the two of you there is a huge cliff with hot lava. You don’t want to fall over it. You want to control the monster, and so you keep pu

OCD and the Pervasive Reassurance-Seeking Compulsion

6.26.17

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

Is It Your Sense Of Integrity or Is It Your OCD?

5.30.17

Many individuals who experience a high sense of responsibility and integrity believe that they just have high moral standards and persist in doing certain behaviors. However, when the guilt persists and the behaviors become repetitive in order to release the guilt and other feelings such as anxiety, it may actually be OCD. Let’s take a look at some situations and discuss the difference. Lisa is driving down the road in the dark. All of a sudden she senses she went over a bump. She worries and wonders if she has run over someone’s body. She can’t stop thinking about it, and the more she reviews the scenario the more she believes it may have been someone on the road. She returns and checks to make sure she didn’t hurt anyone. Matt’s hands ar

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?”

What’s the Best Treatment for Hair-Pulling Disorder?

9.14.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] After school, Henry would sit down and watch TV, but one hour later, his mom would discover he had been pulling his eyelashes and eyebrows. It wasn’t that he didn’t want them, he just couldn’t stop plucking them. When his friends called him to hang out, he found excuses not to be around them. He didn’t want to face unwanted questions or comments. The embarrassment and shame were causing isolation, and his confidence and self esteem were suffering. Henry is challenged by trichotillomania (TTM). Individuals who experience this disorder have difficulties resisting the urge to pull out their hair. It is estimated to affect between two to four percent of the American population. Many hair

OCD, Guilt, and Religion

12.15.12

[See original article published here.] “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….”  ~ Proverbs 23:7 Grace had grown up in a religious home. She was familiar with the above proverb. She understood it as a reminder to maintain pure thoughts to be a better person. Unfortunately, she was challenged by obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), and every time she read verses such as this, her anxiety and guilt would torment her. Honesty and integrity were often talked about in her home. Impure and blasphemous thoughts were against her religious beliefs. She had learned that if she were to sin, she could take steps to be forgiven. A broken heart, contrite spirit, and confession were essential. Her troubles began in middle school. She was taking a his

Mindset Family Therapy

Healing Those Stubborn Emotional Wounds

11.8.12

Mary was experiencing low self-esteem and worthlessness.   She’d say her eyes were “broken faucets.” She’d cry often, and would easily get irritated and explode at her children and husband. She had gained weight in the past year. She snacked all day and would finish a bag of chips in minutes without even noticing. She had difficulty concentrating, felt muscle tension, and above all, she was feeling like the “worst mother in the world.” One day she reported she just wanted to “escape her world.”   She was not suicidal but just wanted a break. She didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon. Sometimes she would say things like “I feel my heart being crushed. I am a bad person. I am exhausted and ready to quit. Things

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