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Scrupulosity OCD and the Sin of Certainty

12.5.17

View original article published in Psych Central– When religious and faithful individuals are told that the unremitting thoughts that they are trying to get rid of are due to their OCD, they have difficulty accepting it. They may remember how and where their symptoms began, and may attribute their sinful thoughts to Satan or being cursed somehow somewhere. They may eventually acknowledge the symptoms as OCD but continue to doubt their worthiness. As they question their thoughts and actions, uncertainty persists. They believe they may find surety if they make a more exerted effort. For example, they may say, “If I pray longer, the intrusive thoughts will stop. Perhaps I didn’t confess all my sins. I must go back and do better. My service to

Just Right: OCD and Kids

10.10.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Landon was a bright intelligent child. He had excelled academically and also enjoyed sports. However, OCD appeared to be getting in the way of his life. There were times when he could not get out of bed because the thought of having to get dressed overwhelmed him. His socks needed to feel just right as well as his shirt and pants. He would repeat the behaviors until he felt just right about it. He seemed to be late to school every day. Things in his room had to be just so. He would be angry and become aggressive when he noticed someone had been in his room. New belongings were challenging as well. When his parents bought him new items such as a backpack, shoes, or clothes, he refused to use

The OCD Mind and Uncertainty

10.9.17

An introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for OCD, particularly as it relates to handling uncertainty and urges. Check it out: link here    

Pedophilia OCD: When OCD Targets the Children in Your Life

9.11.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Rhonda was a kind and religious woman. Most importantly, she adored her kids. However, one day, a fleeting thought showed up in her mind, “Did I touch Ronnie inappropriately,” as she was buckling her son in his car seat. Rhonda became anxious and couldn’t stop worrying about it. “Did I really touch him? What if I did? Am I a pervert? No, I’m not! I would never do such thing! But then, why do I feel anxious? Does that mean I did something wrong? Otherwise, I would not feel anxious.” These and many similar thoughts began to occupy Rhonda’s mind. The more she tried to “get rid” of the thoughts or figure out why she was having them, the more they stuck. Gary was single with many nephews and niec

7 Essentials for Parents of Kids with OCD

8.22.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Looking back to what I now know suggests that my 3 1/2 year old son’s long lasting temper tantrums may have been an indication that something was up. I just didn’t know what it was and wasn’t sure how to become better informed. All I remember is that it seemed like it was his way or the highway. He eventually grew out of those temper tantrums by the time he started pre-school. When Jeff was in elementary school, he would erase numbers and letters until they looked “just right!” At night I would spend a few minutes with each of my sons saying good night. When it was his turn, we would talk and then say good night. But as I was leaving the room he would say, “Say good night mom.” I would say,

Are You Fueling Your OCD?

7.3.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Imagine that you and your friends go to a park to enjoy a summer evening with a campfire. As your group begins to enjoy the nice bonfire, a park ranger shows up and tells you that all fires need to be put out right away. How would you extinguish the fire? Of course, there are countless options. However, let’s pretend that the obvious resources that you want to use are not available for one reason or another. The only potential medium is a pile of wood logs nearby. Would you use lumber to put the fire out? Of course not, that would be silly since we all know wood is highly flammable. This would only grow the bonfire. What could you do instead? Maybe, the best solution would be to get back to

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

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

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