All of us have thoughts that are maybe a little weird or unusual. But OCD thoughts or images are particularly sticky and keep on popping up even though you don’t want them to. You might try suppressing them or pushing them away, but to no success. These obsessions could be about contamination, just rightness, religion or morality, violence, relationships, sexual orientation, OCD, and more.
Tied to the obsessions or to rules, these are about doing things mentally/internally or physically to relieve the anxiety, distress, or disgust or to prevent something bad from happening. Examples could be repeatedly washing your hands, ordering things in certain ways, checking and double checking, praying, counting, repeating words to yourself, asking other people for reassurance, researching things on the Internet, and so on. But these compulsions or rituals don’t actually help or work in the long run as you well know.
These obsessions or compulsions are taking A LOT of your time, causing you a lot of stress, or really getting in the way of you and your life.
How’s OCD working for you? Have you suffered enough yet? Do you feel like you’re going crazy? Maybe you’ve never told anyone what’s really been going on inside your brain/mind. Do you want to try a different way or two that’s helped other people with OCD?
Here are the treatment options in working on OCD with me:
- The standard Exposure and Response or Ritual Prevention (ERP) + optional add-on of stopping rumination
- The promising Inference-Based CBT for OCD (I-CBT)
One effective treatment option is EXRP or ERP, which stands for EXposure and Response or Ritual Prevention. It’s simple and challenging at the same time. Exposures are imaginal or real-world (in vivo) challenges we create together to help with the OCD. Treatment generally works if people are willing to do the homework outside of our sessions, are willing to do the challenges/exposures, and are willing to resist the rituals/responses. You might be surprised that you can handle more than you think you can; I’ll coach and support you along the way. I got you!
Another thing I’ve added to EXRP or ERP is rumination-focused treatment (thank you, Dr. Michael Greenberg). Ruminating is thinking about things you don’t want to be thinking, or what Dr. Michael Greenberg (https://drmichaeljgreenberg.com/defining-rumination/), defines “mental engagement with the problem.” Your list of exposures are based on things you want to to be doing without rumination and doing things you’re avoiding.
Another promising treatment option is Inference-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for OCD (I-CBT). We’ll break down the OCD sequence starting with the trigger leading to the obsessional doubt and cascading from there. We’ll identify the logic behind OCD as well as the tricks and cheats of OCD. We’ll explore your feared/vulnerable self with OCD versus your real self. We’ll talk about the bridge - OCD bubble with the OCD story as well as reality sensing in the here and now. I-CBT is about slowing things down with OCD and showing you a different way to think and act.
Together let’s kick OCD’s okole or butt. The goal is not to “cure” OCD (great if we do), but to manage it so you can live your life the way you want to. OCD can be a chronic condition just like diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure. My goal is to work myself out of a job, giving you the tools to become your own therapist so you can continue to apply the tools after we pause or finish treatment.
Imagine what your life would be like if you get hours of each day of your life back… If you get better quality of life... If you spend less time, energy, and space focused on OCD. Who are you without OCD taking over your life?
More about Exposure and Response Prevention from IOCDF
Rumination-focused treatment articles from Dr. Michael Greenberg
Resources for Living with OCD from the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)