OCD refers to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is characterised by obsessive thoughts, which leads to compulsive behaviours. It can sometimes appear around puberty, but commonly is seen during early adulthood. Symptoms of OCD can be related to a number of different areas from germs and contamination to order and symmetry, but it is often more complex than is typically shown in mainstream media.
What is OCD?
The key characteristics of OCD include obsessions, which are intrusive thoughts, images or urges that the brain fixates on, and in turn causes feelings of anxiety, or even disgust and unease. The compulsive part of this order is usually an attempt to alleviate these unpleasant feelings. For example, an obsession around harming loved ones does not mean the individual will harm anyone, but rather they may take excessive actions to prevent harm to them.
Types of OCD
As well as the previously mentioned types of OCD, symptoms may include obsessing about intrusive thoughts around sex or aggression, so continually seek for reassurance of their goodness. Doubt and incompleteness refers to obsessions about actions such as locking the door or having turned something off. Sin, religion and morality can lead to constant praying and asking for forgiveness. More generally, obsessions could be around self-control, and in severe cases can lead to isolation due to the fear of being around other people.
Cognitive Therapy for OCD
Due to the nature of OCD being clearly related to the connection between thoughts and behaviours, therapy that is usually recommend for OCD is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Here at Your Mind Therapy, we specialise in providing CBT, so if you are looking for an OCD therapist near you, we can offer both online and in-person therapy to help you on your path to recovery.
What is CBT?
CBT is a talking therapy that looks at the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The focus is to challenge the intrusive thoughts when experiencing OCD symptoms, with the aim to improve emotional regulation and develop unique coping strategies to practically deal with your difficulties. When treating your OCD symptoms, we are likely to ask you to think of examples of when your OCD was severe, and we will look in detail at this example to examine the thoughts from that time in order to challenge them. We will also explore the compulsions that you have used as coping strategies to deal with your obsessive thoughts. We may also look at what would happen if you did the opposite in order to further challenge the obsessions around the initial thought.
Can You Stop Intrusive Thoughts?
For someone with OCD, it is understandable why you may want to stop intrusive thoughts all together, as they cause you so much pain and can disrupt your life and stop you from fully functioning. The aim of CBT for OCD is not to stop intrusive thoughts, but to decrease the obsessions that stem from them, and their associated compulsive behaviours. Intrusive thoughts are a normal part of how our brains work. These thoughts can be negative, positive or neutral. The problem with OCD is that the individual becomes fixated on negative intrusive thoughts and places too much emphasis on them, causing severe anxiety and unpleasant emotions, which the person then seeks relief for. With CBT, our goal is to acknowledge these thoughts without becoming fixated on them.
For more information about CBT for OCD get in touch today and we will be pleased to provide you with a OCD counsellor or therapist.