Dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)

March 2020| 5 mins to read

OCD is when you are experiencing intrusive, obsessional thoughts, this can manifest into irrational ways of seeing and viewing things in your mind. Compulsions are when you are unable to help to carry out specific daily rituals.

The causes and effects of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the impact this can have on your emotional and mental well-being.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). We all have experience OCD ‘like’ thoughts and behaviours. You might have fantasies about getting ill, worrying about various kinds of safety, and catastrophising situations or interactions you have had with others. It doesn’t mean these obsessions are necessarily symptoms of OCD. While these thoughts look the same as what you would see in OCD, someone without OCD may have these thoughts, be it momentarily, and then forget about them.

There are some things you can try to help yourself manage these thoughts and behaviours to improve you’re well being. Different things work for different people at different times. It can be useful to manage your stress, as stress and anxiety can make OCD symptoms worse, practising techniques like mindfulness and writing down your feelings can help you to reduce how you are feeling.

If your experience of OCD behaviours is extreme, you are unable to control your thoughts and compulsions, and they are interfering with your daily life, you may have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

In extreme cases of OCD, it can lead to uncontrollable intrusive thoughts and behaviours, and it may prevent you from being able to do day to day things that affect how you are functioning. If left untreated, the OCD can start to significantly impact your mental and emotional well-being. It is essential if this is happening you seek medical attention and support.

How can Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affect me?

OCD can cause you a great deal of distress in your life and manifests in many varying ways which are unique to you. When experiencing irrational thinking, this can create scenarios in your mind about urges you may have and want to act out.
The following thoughts and behaviours below are typical for those suffering from OCD:

Obsession thoughts you may have:

  • Fear of being contaminated with germs or dirt by shaking hands with another person or touching objects that are not yours.
  • Feeling intensely stressed out when certain belonging are not facing in the same direction (need for order and symmetry).
  • Constant doubt that you locked the door to your house/car and/or turned your stove off
  • Thoughts about horrifically hurting yourself or hurting others.
  • Obsessive thoughts about shouting inappropriate things or obscenities.
  • Feeling stressed out when you replay unwanted sexual images in your head repeatedly.
  • Fear of being embarrassed.
  • Excessive doubt and need for reassurance.

Obsessive behaviours you can have:

  • Excessive hand washing, often causing your hands to become raw and sometimes bleed.
  • Patterned counting behaviours.
  • Repeated checking that the stove is turned off.
  • Repeated checking of door locks.
  • Refusing to shake hands or touch door knobs.
  • Eating foods in a specific order and/or not allowing foods to touch.
  • Collecting or hoarding items.
  • Repeating a prayer or phrase to yourself.
  • Ordering and arranging things in a precise, symmetrical way.
  • Avoiding situations that could cause obsessive thoughts (e.g., avoiding shaking another person’s hand for fear of getting germs or dirt on your own hands).

If you are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), your symptoms may come and go over time and also vary in intensity.

How can TLC Counselling help me with my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

I can help when you are experiencing intense feelings of fear and worry, leading you to consistently overthinking and stopping you doing the things you enjoy.

Sometimes it may be easier for you to talk to a therapist than opening up to family and friends. It is essential to let the people closest to you know what is happening for you, but this does not mean you have to go into detail with them. I offer a safe space for you to be able to express your feelings freely without worrying about being judged. 

I have spent many years working with, children, young people, individuals and couples, helping them to explore their issues with OCD. I aim to be there with you every step of the way, and I will not tell you what to do. However, I can guide you to explore the way you think and feel to support you in building your inner reliance to cope with your obsessive thoughts and feelings.

What is the structure of my therapy sessions, and how can this benefit me?

  • I will work with you to support you to feel ‘emotionally safe’ to open up and explore your own unique story. 
  • We will work out together how your core triggers around anxiety have manifested over the years and identify the impact this is having on your life.
  • I can support you to identify your reoccurring obsessive and compulsive thought patterns and behaviours that you are having. 
  • We will break these patterns you have bit by bit together to make sense of them to create changes in the way you see things.
  • I will work with you to improve how you are feeling about yourself by setting tasks between sessions.
  • I will support you by using key models, interventions, and techniques within the sessions to support your personal growth and development. 

What do I need to know about the counselling process?

  • We will meet for an initial consultation/assessment, and this allows you the opportunity to meet with me, to ensure you feel I am the right person for you. 
  • I will advise you of the confidentiality, data protection, and give you a counselling agreement to sign if you decide to go ahead with individual therapy.
  • I will gather some personal information from you, and we will identify the difficulties you are facing. We will explore what your desired goals are from the individual counselling sessions.
  • Sessions last 50 minutes, and are mainly weekly, to begin with, they can move to fortnightly once you feel you need less support.

What if I have any more questions or queries about my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

If you would like any further information, or you are unsure about how I could support you, please feel free to give me a call. If you would prefer to e-mail me with any questions or queries that you may have, please do not hesitate, and I will get back to you within 24 hours.