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  OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Obsessive Compulsive Order is usually abbreviated as OCD. Sufferers may have predominantly obsessions of various kinds or mostly compulsions or a combination of obsessions and compulsions. They are usually aware that their behaviours and thoughts are abnormal, but feel unable to halt the pattern. At its worst, OCD is known to make the living of a normal life difficult and even impossible.

Obsessions manifest as intrusive and repetitive thoughts and imaginations. For example, a person might constantly worry about committing a crime or doing something embarrassing. Or they may have constant thoughts about a person or group of people. There are very many other forms of obsession too.

Compulsions might include (for example) the classic endless handwashing or excessive checking, though again there are very many other forms of compulsion. Many develop elaborate, time-consuming rituals that have to be performed before they can feel ‘safe’ and which disrupt their lives and the lives of those around them.

Myths about OCD dispelled
  • OCD is not a congenital condition and neither does it need to be a lifetime sentence. People can and do recover completely from it and establish normal healthy patterns.
  • OCD sufferers may be more prone to developing the condition because of temperament, upbringing or experience. However the same tendencies can b e used quite differently and effectively as talents, freed from the OCD syndrome. For example, the same fundamental tendencies healthily directed could make a person reliable and conscientious in a job or lead to success in an art or craft or in playing a musical instrument
  • OCD is not a disease in the sense that say a virus is – no organic causes have been identified and people are not infected with it.
  • OCD is essentially a series of associated behaviours that become automatic and much exaggerated. It may develop as a result of severe trauma, but equally can be established more gradually, for example when people have had their confidence slowly undermined or when there has been excessive stress and anxiety. It is accentuated when some of the major human psychological needs are inadequately met, and indeed generally makes sufferers less able to meet those needs.
 
Intelligent therapy for OCD
  • does not blame sufferers
  • does not encourage excessive introspection
  • asks sufferers to accept some responsibility for managing their condition
  • assists clients in separating their identity from the condition
  • allows clients to understand how and why OCD in general might develops and encourages insight into ways in which their own OCD has worked
  • coaches ways to make conscious challenges to automatic OCD thoughts
  • teaches ways of creating relaxed and focused states
  • draws on positive experiences to create new patterns
  • (where necessary) desensitizes memories of any traumatic experiences that may have been involved in establishing the condition
  • teaches a fuller understanding of the mind/body systems
  • draws on positive experiences to create new patterns
  • uses forms of guided imagination to rehearse new ways forward
  • moves at a pace acceptable to the client
How long will it take?

There is no set pattern for therapy. In some cases, relief from symptoms is experienced very rapidly over 2 or 3 sessions, whilst in others it can take many more. All clients are encouraged to notice ways in which they are able to make changes from the first session onwards. Clear goals are established and therapy is generally ended when these are reached, though clients may (optionally) return for additional coaching sessions from time to time.

 

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