Therapy for OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Hoarding Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Hair Pulling Disorder, Skin Picking Disorder

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?


OCD is a form of anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive, repetitive, anxiety-provoking thoughts (obsessions) coupled with mental and/or behavioral rituals or routines (compulsions). With OCD, what would usually be effective strategies in dealing with uncertainty and anxiety actually reinforce the cycle of OCD. People who experience OCD often find themselves caught in a never-ending loop of seeking, but never attaining, what they feel is an acceptable level of certainty and reassurance.

When OCD symptoms become persistent, begin to interfere with living one’s life in a valued manner, and/or causes health or safety concerns, seeking professional help from a trained mental health professional (e.g., therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist) is recommended.

A great resource for learning about OCD and related disorders is the International OCD Foundation.

 

Common Symptoms of OCD


EMOTIONAL
anxiety, nervousness, irritability, stress, sadness

COGNITIVE
uncontrollable repetitive thoughts or images, racing thoughts, intrusive/unwanted thoughts or images, recurring distressing thoughts, preoccupation with uncertainty, repetitive thinking

PHYSICAL
rapid heart beat, nausea, rapid breathing (e.g., hyperventilation), dizziness or feeling faint, chest tightness, frequent headaches, low energy, fatigue

BEHAVIORAL
repetitive time-consuming behavioral rituals, avoiding situations that elicit anxiety, asking others for reassurance

OUR APPROACH

Treatment Approaches for OCD

While OCD can present in many forms, all treatment for OCD involves systematically breaking self-reinforcing patterns of obsessions and compulsions and learning new ways to respond to and manage uncertainty and anxiety.

EXPOSURE AND RESPONSE PREVENTION THERAPY

Exposure therapy is a behaviorally-focused treatment that involves confronting feared triggers, experiences, and/or situations in a systematic manner. Exposure therapy is among the most effective psychotherapeutic interventions.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)

CBT is the most common treatment for OCD and anxiety disorders. CBT therapists assist individuals with identifying and challenging unhelpful cognitive patterns, analyzing the connection between thoughts and behaviors, and developing more effective thought processes and behavioral patterns.

ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY

ACT is a behaviorally-oriented therapeutic approach that aims to modify how a person relates and responds to their internal experiences (i.e., thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and urges) in order to more fully engage in values-based behaviors.

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