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The Best Treatment for OCD: Exposures with a Curious Mindset


Children are the best at being curious. Do you remember when you were a kid playing outside with your friends and found something that caught your attention? Did you dismiss it, or push it away, or were you curious because you wanted to know what it was or how it worked? Some of us may lose the desire to learn about how things work as we get busy with our everyday life tasks and worries. We can all benefit by practicing and learning to be curious. And when you struggle with OCD, the search for certainty is king! Thus, as your rule-making mind “helps” you find certainty, it starts giving you reminders about what you should or should not do because after all, by following its rules, you may find certainty! Take a look at these e

How Can Identifying Values Help With Scrupulosity OCD?


By Kathleen Ririe What is scrupulosity? Picture this- you’re out walking on a beautiful path through the woods. The air smells of fresh rain, the trees are extra lush and green, and as the morning light shines through the trees you are filled with a sense of aliveness. UNTIL. You notice a tiny, sharp rock has found its way into your shoe. You try to ignore it, but the more vigilantly you ignore it, the more obnoxious it becomes. No matter how carefully you step, you can’t avoid the rock in your shoe. Soon you become completely engrossed in noticing the pebble and can no longer enjoy anything else the forest has to offer you. The word scrupulous comes from the Latin word Scrupulum which means a small sharp stone (1), and like t

IOCDF Faith and OCD Taskforce’s #OCDtruths


The OCD awareness week came and went. Hopefully today there are more people who are aware of this debilitating mental health challenge. There are many truths about OCD, and there are also many myths and misconceptions. For example, when someone tells you that they have OCD, know that if they are making fun of themselves, or making light of the situation, they most likely do not have this serious condition. OCD can get in the way of someone’s life, and what they care about the most (values). For example, when someone cares about their faith and connection with God, the OCD mind will target that very value and struggle with scrupulosity OCD. When someone who cares deeply about being a loving and caring person, they might have OC

OCD and Uncertainty: You Can Choose to Do Something Different (ERP)


Whenever fear and uncertainty strike, your “problem-solving” mind is ready to offer solutions, though they might not be effective in the long run. The uncertainty (whether God loves you, whether you are a good enough parent, whether you are perfectly honest) that prevails in the areas you care about may lead you to feel overwhelmed. Looking for certainty can feel like facing a bunch of closed doors inviting you to open them so you can find certainty and move on with your life. The OCD mind seems to say, “If you give in to the urge and engage in the private or public compulsion this one time (open that next door), you’ll find certainty once and for all.” You know the feeling. You also know what happens when you open that door. The

When Treatment for OCD Gets Tough, Follow These Five Steps!


Challenges are certainly part of life, and expecting to be free of it all is not realistic, unless you are a kid. For example, one afternoon, my grandkids were doing art projects at my house. One of them decided to create something that was a little too ambitious for his age. When I realized he was no longer working on it, I asked: “What happened to your project?” He answered, “I quit. It was too hard.” I said, “Oh, that’s too bad.” His older sister quickly chimed in: “When things get tough; what do you do? Here are two steps:  You quit and then forget about it!” She likes to tease and be mischievous sometimes. Her parents often talk about doing hard things and to keep trying instead of quitting. So I said, “Sweetie, you can

Five Ways to Let Go of Religious Scrupulosity


Drew had been raised in a religious environment. He had been taught to love God, but when he was a teenager, he began to have doubts about his faith. When he did, he felt guilty. He truly loved God and wanted to have a close relationship with Him. However, the more he wished to be good and serve others perfectly, the more doubts he seemed to have about God’s existence. He was terrified to experience intrusive thoughts and doubts while participating in religious activities. He believed the thoughts were his fault for not completing his “spiritual to-do list.” There just didn’t seem to be enough time to do what he believed had to be done so “God would be happy with him.”  The more he tried, the mo

Six Signs You Might Have Religious Scrupulosity


“Why can’t I get rid of these horrific thoughts? I’m supposed to have pure thoughts according to my faith. Will God ever forgive me?” Jon’s incessant thoughts were evoking extreme anxiety, doubt, and guilt in his daily life. He would excessively pray to ask for forgiveness. When the unwanted and unpleasant thoughts would show up, he would try to replace them by singing or repeating verses from his holy books. When he chose to confess his perceived sins, his religious leader told Jon that he had not sinned and to not worry about those thoughts. The faith leader reassured him by telling him that he was a good person. Despite his faith leader’s reassurance, Jon’s thoughts kept coming back. Jon blamed himself. He fe

Six Signs You Might Have Moral Scrupulosity OCD


Amber was an agnostic with high morals. Unfortunately, she often questioned her motivations regarding her behaviors and values. “Did I really mean to give that donation, or is it my savior complex? What if God really exists and I am sinning by not believing? Did I inadvertently offend my co-workers yesterday?” She seemed determined to be perfectly good, and was harsh on herself when she realized she failed at it every time. Does Amber’s story sound familiar? Do you often experience the urge to be perfectly good, though you know it’s impossible? Do you believe you need to do more and more each time? Is  life actually overwhelming you because you believe you are not a good enough family member, friend, neighbor, worker, cit

Scrupulosity OCD and Thoughts


When you struggle with scrupulosity OCD, you probably experience thoughts that are not congruent with your beliefs, who you are, and who you want to become. The natural response to having unpleasant and unwanted thoughts is to want to get rid of them. When they show up, you may wonder, “What do these thoughts say about me? Do I want them? Is that why they won’t go away? If I don’t fight against them, they may become reality. If I let them be in my head, it means I am as bad as if I were acting on them.” These responses can be daunting AND the good news is that you can change the way you respond to your thoughts! First, let’s briefly clarify what thoughts are not, and what they are so you can start learning how to change your rela

In Your Darkest Times…


In your darkest times… Stay hopeful. Stay faithful. Even when you think God is not there. God is there and your scrupulous mind might just be getting in the way. Remember that your scrupulous mind is not in charge of your life or what you choose to do and believe. You are imperfectly good and God loves you unconditionally. You are enough. Keep the hope!

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A guide to help you find relief and happiness in spite of religious or moral OCD (scrupulosity OCD). Learn more about Annabella Hagen's book.
Imperfectly Good - Book by Annabella Hagen

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