CBT for OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a phobia of your thoughts, believing that intrusive thoughts are true.
The truth is most of us experience intrusive thoughts. It’s how you perceive the thought and what you do that determines whether you develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is very clever and gives people anxiety because the intrusive thoughts are usually the opposite of a person’s value system. You don’t choose what pops into your head so how can you judge yourself by it?
OCD is maintained by carrying out compulsive behaviours in overt or covert ways to try and reduce anxiety. This only reinforces the thought suggesting the thought may be true.
People also try to push the thought away and find that the thought just comes back.
The first step to treatment is to understand what maintains the OCD. What are the intrusive thoughts that scare you and what do you do to reduce the anxiety.
The best treatment for OCD is to do nothing when you have had an intrusive thought!
Understand it’s just a thought and not a truth. The anxiety OCD suffers experience when they have an intrusive thought is so uncomfortable that it is understandable that you would want to reduce that feeling.
Unfortunately it is the actions you take to reduce your anxiety that reinforces the intrusive thought. If the thought isn’t true why do you need to carry out and action to reduce the anxiety. OCD is like a bully that tries to trick you into thinking thoughts are the truth.
CBT Therapy helps with this working with you collaboratively, at your pace, initially exposing you to a thought that only provides a little anxiety without carrying out the behaviour. This stops the thought from being reinforced and weakens the circuit in the brain.
We also carry out behavioural experiments to give evidence to the truth which is just because I have a thought doesn’t mean it is going to come true.