OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Most people consider OCD to be a problem concerned with excessive orderliness, cleanliness or symmetry. That is the case, and a lot of people can have OCD traits. Here I hope to explain a little of how OCD works and what keeps it going. OCD is made up of two parts- obsessions (thoughts) and compulsions (acts). Compulsions are negative intrusive thoughts/images. These thoughts are unwanted, frightening and at times traumatic. They can make a person question who they are or if they are losing control of themselves. Examples of obsessions are: 1. A parent may have a thought about hurting their child. 2. A heterosexual man/woman may have a thought about having sexual relations with a man/woman. 3. A person may imagine their house burning down through an electrical fire if they don't check the switches.
These are all totally normal. The thought usually scares the person and challenges their own sense of self. These thoughts cause an intense rush of anxiety usually combined with feelings of guilt or shame. As a result of this, a person will carry out a compulsion to reduce these feelings, these compulsions happen in a set way and become a ritual.
The parent may avoid the child so they do not feel they are a risk.
Heterosexual man/woman may avoid being intimate with their partners or avoid relationships totally
A person may check the light switches multiple times in specific ways in a specific routine to ensure this is done "perfectly"
For a lot of people, imagining a life without OCD can be scary and seem impossible. After all, OCD has kept them "safe" for a long time. Using CBT I work with clients to understand how OCD came to be in their lives, what role it serves, how life could be different without it. This in conjunction with exposure response prevention can offer people an opportunity to challenge their life and take control of it once again.
If you feel you may be suffering with OCD feel free to contact me to arrange an initial assessment session to discuss how CBT may be of use to you.