You continuously have intrusive fears and thoughts that cause you anxiety. While you may consider your fears silly, you still try to get rid of your anxiety through specific rituals or behaviors.
Sometimes, being a little anxious is a good thing. It helps us carry out certain tasks with caution, which may ensure safety and security for us.
However, if your anxious thoughts have become too obsessive, they may be doing more harm than good. They will impact your behavior and create unhealthy patterns that will create difficulties in your daily life.
If you are experiencing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you will find obsessions as well as compulsions in your behavior. A “Mental compulsion” refers to an act that you perform to neutralize the anxious thought or alleviate the distress that obsession causes. The common types of mental compulsions or mental rituals include:
Special long or short prayers repeated in a specific manner
Special words, numbers, or images repeated mentally to neutralize anxiety
Mental list making
Mental reviewing (reviewing conversations, feeling thoughts, or actions, etc.)
Reassuring yourself that everything is fine
Mental erasing of unpleasant or unwanted mental images
You feel a strong need to carry out your compulsions, and feel extremely ashamed about this, too. The shame not only makes things worse but also forces you to try to hide the problem – and this leads to delays in its diagnosis and treatment. Even scarier, OCD can cause a social disability – including things like making you housebound.
How Can Counseling Help Me?
OCD can be treated, and seeking professional help is your first step in the recovery journey.
An experienced counselor can help you deal with OCD through cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). The gold standard for OCD treatment ERP is a type of psychotherapy that assists people with obsessive thoughts in refraining from resorting to mental rituals or compulsions as a response to their OCD.
In this therapy, your therapist will gradually expose you to stimuli that induce your maladaptive responses – such as objects and mental images. You will be taught to develop the “response prevention” ability, which means that you will learn not to respond to your obsessions with your usual compulsive behaviors. You will also learn how to tolerate the distress that this exposure causes you.
Trained therapists at Kasandra Wheeler PLLC are available to treat OCD through ERP and other techniques. If you have OCD, getting help from her can change your life for the better. Just take the first step and get in touch with us.
You are not alone. We are here to help!