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OCD

Do I Have OCD?

3.22.17

When you worry frequently about things that are outside of your control, or you must have everything in your life organized perfectly, you may start to wonder if you need to see an OCD specialist. While anxiety does not mean that you have OCD, there are signs of OCD that are very difficult to ignore. What is important to remember is that OCD signs and symptoms are on a spectrum. While you may exhibit some signs, it is the degree of prevalence in your life that matters most. For those experiencing primarily mental obsessions, it is difficult to dismiss a random weird thought as non-sufferers do. Individuals with mental obsessions and compulsions will try to pick apart their thoughts in order to figure them out and resist them. They will also

Mindset Family Therapy

Helping Someone with OCD

3.3.17

There are many faces of this disorder. It can be difficult to watch someone you love spend so much time on their obsessions or compulsions. You may become irritated or angry at the time spent on what you consider irrational rituals. It is important to take a step back and realize that your discomfort is with the disorder, not the person. It is only when you do this that you are in a position to help your loved one overcome something that is making the quality of their life much less than it could be. One of the best ways to help someone with OCD is to encourage them to seek help from an OCD specialist. This can mean admission to an OCD treatment center or individual counseling with a therapist that understands and has extensive specific exp

OCD: “The Bow that You Have to Keep on Tying”

10.11.16

View original article published in Psych Central– “It just doesn’t feel right. I have to fix it until it is just so!” “I need to figure it out, and once I do, I’ll feel free to move on!” “I have to check all the windows, then I’ll be able to sleep peacefully.” “I have to repeat my prayers until I know God has really heard them.” “Not knowing whether I may hurt my child makes me anxious. I waste too many hours reviewing my behavior to ensure I haven’t harmed her.” What do those statements have in common? When individuals experience OCD, accepting uncertainty seems to be the greatest challenge. They have extreme difficulty moving on with their day unless they feel 100% sure the answers to their doubts have been resolved. Whether it is doing s

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

Mindfulness and OCD

5.22.16

View original article published in Psych Central here] Vincent was a young man experiencing intrusive thoughts. All he wanted in life was to get rid of those tormenting images and thoughts once and for all. One day, after coming back from a camping trip he told his therapist, “I was so busy and focused on what I was doing that I didn’t have time to analyze my thoughts and obsess. I was mainly focused in the present moment. If only I could go on camping adventures every day!” Vincent’s OCD symptoms had begun when he was 12 years old. He had created thinking patterns that weren’t helpful. In the past, he had tried different “distracting strategies” but their effectiveness was short-lived. He also had discovered that fighting his internal expe

Every man dies. Not every man lives.

10.16.15

What are your values? What are your dreams? What is something you wish you could be doing instead of focusing on your OCD? OCD is still there, and you don’t have to put your life on hold until it’s “gone.” You can instead look at your values, what you stand for, and what your passions are or could be. You can start today. Make what matters the most the center of your life. We will all die at one point or another, but while we live, let’s make our lives more meaningful!

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

Mindfulness and OCD

10.14.15

A while ago, I met a young man who experienced intrusive thoughts. All he wanted in life was to get rid of those tormenting thoughts once and for all. One day, after coming back from an adventure camping trip he said, “I was so busy the whole time. It was fun mainly because I didn’t have time to analyze my thoughts. I was able to be in the present moment. If I could only do that every day!” He had noticed the difference it made when he was focused on the present moment without constantly evaluating his thoughts. His thoughts had still been there, but he didn’t engage them that weekend. Before this experience, he had neglected practicing mindfulness. He realized that by practicing every day he could learn to be in the present moment without

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?”

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