Whether you are struggling with intrusive thoughts and images, engaging in compulsions and rituals that are taking over your life, or both, obsessive compulsive disorder – OCD – can bring up a lot of distress. The problem with these rituals is that they only relieve the anxiety for a very brief moment and then the anxiety returns and grows in intensity. The more you engage in the rituals the worse the anxiety gets in the long run. Your rituals may then continue to increase, you may have to continue developing new strategies and rituals for managing your anxiety. The cycle grows and escalates, the more you use the rituals to cope with the anxiety the worse the anxiety gets.
CBT for OCD Treatment
The evidence-based choice of CBT for OCD treatment is exposure and response prevention, it is also important to understand the underlying root/function of the problem. Underneath the symptoms of OCD is an intense fear of uncertainty and the unknown, and an urgent yearning to create predictability, certainty, and safety.
Utilizing exposure and response prevention in our treatment may require us to do in vivo exposure. This means we may want to practice exposure together outside of the office setting by utilizing therapist-assisted exposure. In this form of exposure treatment, your OCD therapist will go with you to the feared location or situation and provide you with the coaching you need in the moment. This will help you learn the tools to cope more effectively with your anxiety. This may include driving on a bridge together, going to a crowded shopping mall, or visiting a dog park together. Practicing exposure in the real world is the most effective and efficient way to overcome OCD.
What are the signs?
You may excessively engage in one or more of these behaviors:
- Excessive hand washing
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive organizing and ordering of possessions in a particular way
- Repeatedly double checking things
- Accumulating items
- Praying excessively
- Engaging in ritualistic behaviors such as counting, tapping, or using mantras
- Engaging in excessive superstitious behaviors
We can help you:
- Learn strategies for managing your anxiety and obsessions
- Decrease compulsions and rituals
- Learn new ways to relate to your obsessions
- Build effective and meaningful relationships
- Identify your values and what you want your life to be about
- Develop techniques for overcoming obstacles to living your values
- Cultivate kindness, compassion, and acceptance through mindfulness training
- Take steps toward what matters