Have ritualized behaviors—such as spending excessive time cleaning or double-checking locks and switches—become an impediment to enjoying life? Are you ready to break free of the cycle that keeps you stuck in anxiety and find relief?
Maybe ever since you were young, you’ve experienced unpleasant thoughts that have distracted you from living your life. No matter what you were doing, your mind would create unwelcome scenarios you couldn’t ignore. As each thought arose, perhaps you lost the ability to be present and engage in life.
Now as an adult, you may be afraid you’re never going to get control over OCD. Maybe you feel defeated, unsure of what your next steps should be. Sadly, you’ve grown used to being on edge and unsettled and, what’s worse, the feeling that something bad is going to happen keeps growing. You know if you don’t address it, your life will always feel limited.
When your OCD takes hold, you may picture it as a cruel entity that hijacks your mind. Whether your behavior is propelled by your fear of contracting an illness, the safety of your loved ones, or losing self-control, these thoughts trigger behaviors that are all-consuming. Perhaps you have to wash your hands excessively, repeatedly check in on loved ones to make sure they’re okay or engage in counting or tapping rituals to ward off the fear of impending doom.
Right now, being in control of your OCD may feel far off, but that shouldn’t mean you can’t start taking the necessary steps to reduce the limitations of these symptoms. After treatment, your OCD will no longer steal your joy. You will have an easier experience of living life, which will help you be more present when special moments occur.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often a long-lasting neurological disorder in which a person has intrusive, unwanted, and reoccurring thoughts, images, or sensations¹. Often, they engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts—compulsions—to reduce the anxiety caused by these thoughts.
OCD affects 2.2 million adults or approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population at some point in their lives². Moreover, OCD is equally common among men and women and typically first appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. Brain scan research has shown that the OCD brain is overactive in comparison to the normal brain, which contributes to the disorder³.
OCD can be insidious. It tells us what we can and cannot do, with whom, and when. We follow its directions, rules, and rituals to help us find temporary relief from our anxiety and fear. But OCD has given us false direction. It always brings us back to square one, needing us to do it all over again, oftentimes with new rules and rituals.
Sadly, the shame and embarrassment we experience living with OCD may prevent us from seeking therapy when we need it most. Because we’re ashamed of the intrusive thoughts that invade our minds without warning, we don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist about our OCD. Instead, we suffer in silence and allow OCD to run the show. Or perhaps we tried OCD counseling before but were disappointed with the results.
Fortunately, Embracing You Therapy specializes in treatment that has been proven effective in helping those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. With the help of a counselor who understands what you’re dealing with, you can learn effective strategies for the management of your OCD.
OCD loves perfection. It makes you believe that the more you seek certainty, the more perfect your life will become. However, by learning to embrace the uncertainty and imperfection of life, you will shed the mental prison of OCD and build a sense of trust, compassion, and love within yourself.
After working through treatment for OCD, you will learn how to better respond to your obsessions and compulsions and gain freedom from its limitations. Once you feel confident to get out of your comfort zone, you can reach a new potential you hadn’t considered before and experience ease in living a life that will help you be more present and appreciative.
OCD treatment is intended to help you increase your tolerance for anxiety, your acceptance of uncertainty, and reduce your need to repeat certain patterns in your life. The goal of treatment is to give you better and healthier tools to manage your OCD and regain control. In your work together, your therapist will teach you about the different elements of OCD so that what’s happening will make more sense and you can begin to make positive modifications.
During the first few sessions, we will gather all the information we need to create an individualized treatment plan that will be successful in helping you overcome OCD. This comprehensive intake evaluation helps us identify your specific triggers and get a clear picture of the underlying anxiety that feeds your OCD symptoms.
The goal of therapy is not to remove or cure OCD altogether. Rather, ongoing sessions will help you redefine your life with OCD by giving you insights to break free of its symptoms. You will learn to uncover underlying thoughts, attitudes, and belief systems you may have that are unhealthy, negative, or rigid. Once you identify these thought patterns, our goal is to find ways to challenge and reframe them. In addition to addressing your thoughts, you will also explore behavioral changes to support your new way of thinking.
Further, you will learn how to practice balanced and flexible thinking to combat the black-or- white thinking OCD has imposed upon your worldview. By learning to stop attaching meaning to your thoughts, you can stop blaming yourself for having them and live your life based on your values, not your fears.
We utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to treat OCD. Each of these evidence-based treatments has a unique emphasis while complementing each other to achieve an effective outcome. ERP is particularly helpful in creating a hierarchy of your fears and, through exposure therapy and doing the opposite of your normal behavior, gradually building up your tolerance for discomfort.
Your OCD does not have to mean that your life will always be chaotic. You are completely capable of busting out of your comfort zone, taking ownership of your dreams, and creating a new sense of self. Most importantly, you will repair your relationship with yourself and build a foundation based on self-trust, self-compassion, and acceptance.
Sometimes I think my OCD helps me.
It’s understandable that after all of this time living with OCD, you may be afraid to do things differently. If, for example, your excessive handwashing is your way to prevent you and others from getting sick, how will you cope with this fear if you no longer wash your hands so much? However, engaging in compulsive behavior only ever offers a short-term solution—soon, the fear of illness returns, and you have to wash your hands again.
An important part of obsessive-compulsive counseling is taking back your power so OCD no longer hijacks your life. When you learn to live with uncertainty, you’ll realize that these behaviors haven’t been helpful at all.
OCD therapy didn’t work last time.
Did the therapist who treated you specialize in OCD treatment or utilize Exposure and Response Therapy (ERP)? If not, this time could be different. ERP is guided by the principle of making value-based, not fear-based, decisions. For example, if your fears and anxieties are preventing you from spending time with loved ones, ERP offers hope by ensuring your quality of life will always win out over fear. Learning how to prioritize what’s important to you can be a turning point in treating OCD.
It is possible to feel empowered and confident to live your best life. To schedule an appointment to begin OCD treatment at our Woodland Hills therapy practice or online, please fill out the contact form to schedule a free phone consultation.
¹ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24762196/² https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Crisis%20(Oct%202020)-,Obsessive%2DCompulsive%20Disorder%20(OCD),first%20experienced%20symptoms%20in%20childhood.³ https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/what-does-an-ocd-brain-look-like/
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