OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD treatment)

jack.jpg

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is said to impact 2% of the population and characterized by intrusive thoughts or images (obsessions) which create feelings of anxiety. The person is then compelled to engage in avoidance and/or repetitive behavioral and/or mental rituals (compulsions) in effort to decrease the anxiety experienced by the obsessions. Although the OCD sufferer experiences fear and anxiety, the actual threat surrounding their fears is not often real and or unlikely to occur. Compulsive behaviors are essentially maladaptive coping strategies that are continually reinforced through their engagement and keep the person locked in a vicious cycle of suffering.

Evidence based practices suggest that a combination of CBT and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) help OCD sufferers significantly decrease symptoms. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is essentially a practice of allowing yourself to gradually face your anxiety triggers and experience your anxiety and obsessions in a focused and present way without engaging in compulsions. In my practice, my clients and I work together to identify and understand symptoms and develop a treatment plan. I then guide my clients through exposures while teaching them the skills to practice on their own. In recent years, I have incorporated Mindfulness practices, Somatic Experiencing techniques and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) techniques when appropriate to provide what I believe to be a more well rounded approach to the long term treatment of OCD. I see OCD as a manifestation of a struggle both the mind (how someone experiences thoughts) and the emotional state of anxiety (how someone experiences anxious feelings) and my hope is to help provide children and adults with OCD develop a healthier relationship with both their thoughts and anxious feelings