Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a frustrating concern to deal with. Obsessions are thoughts that we can’t let go of, that invade our minds. Compulsions are the behaviors that we do to relieve the tension that our thoughts can cause. Most people think of someone who counts items or washes their hands excessively as having OCD. Others think that if you like to have a clean room “you’re OCD.” I have found that many people tend to overthink, or ruminate, and this can create problems in your life. These problems can range from losing time, frustrating friends and family, or creating despair because of an inability to get relief.
I use an approach for OCD called exposure with response prevention. I generally use an insight-based approach to therapy, but this is the wrong idea with OCD. We don’t need to give your mind more material to think about. I base my treatment of OCD on a workbook and also strongly encourage exploration of medication.
In general, I like to use both a cognitive-behavioral and acceptance approach for other anxiety disorders. Whether it’s finding strategies to reduce the frequency and intensity of a panic attack, or finding ways to worry less in daily life, or engaging more with people in a public setting, we’ll work on helping you tap into your existing resources to feel less anxious.
Many people have told me that they just don’t want to be anxious anymore. I make you no such promises and encourage you to be curious about anyone who makes you such a guarantee. At a fundamental level anxiety is a helpful, natural process that can occasionally get out of hand. Identifying how you can feel more empowered or how you can manage some uncertainty in life are helpful ways to work with your anxiety.