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UNCERTAINTY

Why Won’t Anxiety Go Away?

2.21.18

View original article published in Psych Central– If you were walking through the woods and noticed a bear walking towards you, you would probably either run for your life or be so scared that you freeze. On the other hand, if your friends told you to watch out for a person dressed as a bear scaring people in the woods, you might initially get startled but would otherwise remember it was just a person. This heads up would make all the difference in your reaction. Life is like a walk through the woods. We know that anxiety is going to manifest itself because it is a part of life. At one time or another, all of us will experience mild or severe anxiety. But what happens when anxiety shows up? Many individuals report that they hate it. They wi

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

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,

Own Your Anxiety and Become a Discoverer!

7.25.17

View original article published in Psych Central– Nathaniel, a college student had been suffering from anxiety for over two years. He found psychological help through his university but continued to feel lonely in his journey. He had chosen to hide his anxiety from his family and friends for fear of been judged as weak. As he continued with therapy, he decided to be open about his challenges. One day he said, “I feel like I can move on with my life. I don’t need to be thinking about hiding my struggles. I can own it because I’m more than my anxiety!” Nathaniel’s anxiety didn’t completely go away, but he learned to notice his thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges with flexibility and curiosity. He discovered that when he spoke about his

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

Scrupulosity OCD — You Have Choices!

3.30.17

View original article published in Psych Central – “I’m such a sinner. I’m supposed to have pure thoughts. I’m so wicked!” Destiny’s incessant thoughts compelled her to pray, sing hymns, confess, and repent to no avail. Her religious leaders kept telling her that she was not a sinner. They reassured her by telling her that she was a good person. She didn’t know her reassurance seeking was actually a compulsion that kept strengthening her OCD. Her anguish and her need to control her thoughts were affecting her overall functioning. Every time she experienced “impure” thoughts she felt unworthy of happiness or anything good in her life. Her anxiety would swell through her body as a wave that left her feeling guilt and shame, even though she ha

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

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

9.23.16

View original article published in Psych Central– Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately, but does it really work? This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently. Trying to

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