What Is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition characterized by recurring, unwelcome thoughts, ideas, or sensations known as obsessions. Individuals with OCD engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts, called compulsions, in an attempt to alleviate these thoughts. These behaviors, such as excessive hand washing, checking, or mental rituals like counting, can significantly disrupt daily activities and social interactions.
While many people may experience distressing thoughts or repetitive behaviors occasionally, these usually do not interfere significantly with daily life. For those with OCD, the obsessions are persistent, intrusive, and the compulsions become rigid. Failing to perform these behaviors causes substantial distress, often tied to specific fears of dire consequences for oneself or loved ones. Even if individuals with OCD recognize the unrealistic nature of their thoughts, they struggle to disengage from them or halt the compulsive actions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) stands out as a highly effective approach in treating OCD. CBT aims to address the core elements of OCD—obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. In your individual therapy sessions, we will work on identifying obsessive thoughts, acknowledging their irrational nature, and utilizing mindfulness and meditation to observe these thoughts arising and passing, as thoughts naturally do.
To counteract ritualistic behaviors, our CBT therapy includes visualization techniques, finding positive distractions, and exposing yourself to stress triggers while building tolerance. Our treatment focuses on breaking the automatic connection between anxiety and ritual behaviors, training you not to engage in rituals when anxious. This comprehensive program involves three key components: In Vivo Exposure (real-life exposure to anxiety-inducing situations), Imaginal Exposure (mentally visualizing feared situations), and Ritual Prevention (refraining from ritualistic behaviors).