OCD is characterised by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions often show up as unwanted intrusive thoughts, and compulsions often show up as repetitive behaviours (i.e. hand washing, ordering, checking) carried out in response to the obsessions. The intrusive thoughts can be extremely distressing and anxiety provoking, and the obsessions can take up a lot of your time and have a big impact on your functioning.
There are several different types of OCD, where the obsessions and compulsions are related to particular themes, such as contamination ('I just gave that person a serious illness when I touched them'), harm ('what if I drove into that person'), relationships ('is this the right person for me'), 'just right' ('I need to start this over to make it perfect'), and more.
Feeling intense anxiety or distress when experiencing obsessions, and particularly if you try not to do the compulsive behaviours.
Excessive hand-washing and cleaning, such as repeatedly showering or cleaning your house more than a typical amount.
Wanting things to be orderly and symmetrical, and often rearranging things a number of times until it feels 'just right'.
Unwanted intrusive thoughts, or images, popping into your mind despite trying desperately hard not to have these unpleasant thoughts.
Doubting things (i.e. did I lock the door) and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty, often leading to checking behaviours (i.e. checking the door is locked).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for OCD begins with understanding how your OCD developed, how it presents itself, and what maintains it.
We then work on reducing your obsessions and compulsions using a variety of CBT tools and techniques (and I can include Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy techniques too if useful).
And lastly we focus on helping you to reclaim your life, including putting together a relapse prevention plan to help you continue progressing towards your goals after therapy has finished.
Understand how ocd works and what keeps it going so you know what not to do
Be able to do the things you'd like to do but had stopped doing because of ocd
Reduce the frequency of unwanted intrusive thoughts so they feel less overwhelming
Reduce the amount of time spent engaging in compulsive behaviours
Learn how to tolerate uncertainty and sit with uncomfortable feelings
Understand that intrusive thoughts are normal and don't mean anything