What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined as an anxiety disorder which manifests in obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions can be intrusive thoughts, impulses and images experienced repeatedly, which can cause discomfort and concern. Whereas compulsions are actions, or ‘rituals’ carried out in response to these unwelcome cognitions, for example, repetitive checking or cleaning routines.
OCD often overrides rational thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, which heavily impacts upon a person’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle and daily routine because rituals can be time consuming and impractical. In many cases, people with OCD are aware that some of their obsessions and compulsions are irrational but feel helpless or powerless over them, which can cause embarrassment, guilt, and shame. Therefore, secrecy or over-justification surrounding OCD is common, to maintain the unhealthy routine that has developed and avoid intervention. If you are unsure about whether you have OCD, please seek professional assessment from your GP or Psychologist. Common obsessions and compulsions include:
- Skin picking or Hair pulling
- Need for order and/or symmetry
- Fear of contamination (germs and disease)
- Fear of causing harm to self or others deliberately or accidentally
- Intrusive images or thoughts of a violent or sexual nature
- Excessive double checking or cleaning
Why does it happen?
Most people with OCD engage in a vicious cycle consisting of an obsession, fear of negative consequences if they do not satisfy their obsession, followed by their rituals, which provide temporary relief and comfort until the next intrusive thought.
In the cycle, there is a process of engaging in ‘Safety behaviours’, whereby actions are committed to escape potential threat or danger. A common safety behaviour is avoiding cracks to keep loved ones safe from harm. The more safety behaviours are performed, the more reinforcement occurs whereby it becomes harder to let go of the habitual behaviours. However, it is possible to break the cycle and address the underlying anxiety (see separate section) in online therapy
How can online therapy help OCD?
In online therapy, you can safely explore your concerns in a non-judgemental environment with a therapist who can create an appropriate therapeutic plan with you. In most cases, research indicates that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is most effective for better management of OCD through increasing awareness of triggers, cycles and implementing healthier replacements. The approach can offer hierarchical exposure methods, thought reframing and anxiety response prevention. However, there are alternative options available depending on your needs and preferences.
Typically, online therapy for OCD can be challenging because it involves addressing underlying fears and potentially implementing healthy change. Your therapist will support you throughout these challenges and offer useful grounding techniques to help you replace strong impulses and urges, which might alleviate any distress experienced. During therapy, finding an appropriate pace is essential, and your therapist can assist you with reducing any pressure or unrealistic expectations of self. In online therapy you may not only overcome OCD, but develop lifelong skills for anxiety reduction and positive thinking which help you achieve better wellbeing.
Initial telephone discussion
If you are looking for online therapy please contact Teresa Lewis for a 15 minute no-obligation discussion. Teresa is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist so she will be able to briefly discuss your issues, answer questions and explain more about how online therapy can address OCD. At this time you can decide whether you would like to book an appointment. The discussion is conducted without any obligation to book an appointment.
If you would like to speak to Teresa Lewis regarding online therapy for anger issues please call: 01902 827808. Alternatively, fill out our online contact form and we will contact you within 24 hours.
Medical disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice by a qualified doctor.