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ROCD

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Although ROCD is often characterized by intrusive worries about your relationship, relationship OCD treatment often specifically targets the compulsions and avoidance behaviors related to ROCD (rather than the obsessions themselves). This is because ROCD treatment is based on the premise that compulsions and avoidance behaviors are what strengthen and maintain the condition. In the absence of rituals and avoidance, relationship OCD symptoms tend to diminish and weaken over time. This general principle is true for all types of OCD, not just ROCD. As a quick refresher, this multi-part series of posts on rOCD (aka “relationship OCD”) discusses obsessive thoughts that are common in rOCD, ROCD intrusive impulses and images, ROCD compulsions and avoidance behaviors [THIS PART!], and ROCD in non-romantic relationships [FORTHCOMING!]. Let’s get to it. What are common ROCD compulsions? ROCD (Relationship OCD) & Compulsions/Avoidance Behaviors Compulsions are...

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Relationship OCD (rOCD) – Unwanted Impulses & Images

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This multi-part series of posts will focus primarily on rOCD, also known as “relationship OCD.” Part 1 focused on obsessive thoughts that are common in rOCD. This part discusses other relationship OCD obsessions, including intrusive impulses and images. Part 3 will review common compulsions and avoidance behaviors that are typical in rOCD (relationship OCD). Part 4 will discuss “Relationship-Focused OCD” more broadly in the context of other types of relationships, including friendships, parent-child relationships, and professional relationships. As I mentioned in my previous post on rOCD, many people with “relationship OCD” experience recurrent doubts about whether or not they are with the “right” person. Many also infer that if they have doubts about their current relationship, they might secretly want to cheat (or will cheat). They may fear that they will be unfaithful, even if they’re committed to their...

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OCD & Pets: Sexual Thoughts & Scrupulosity

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Obsessions focusing on pets and animals incorporate all the common themes: contamination, checking, harm, scrupulosity, and sex. In this 3-part blog series, I’ll discuss some of the common ways obsessions may target our lovable, snuggable friends. Part 1 focused on harm obsessions, including the fear of accidental and intentional harm, and Part 2 covered contamination obsessions. This final part, Part 3, will address sexual obsessions and scrupulosity, as they pertain to pets. Our animals are members of our family. We treat them as our own. It’s not surprising, then, that OCD extends unwanted thoughts to our furry, fluffy companions. OCD loves to attach taboo thoughts to things we love, and our pets are no exception. Just as many parents struggle with obsessions that target their children (e.g., What if I secretly want to harm my child?; What if I...

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ERP Tip of the Day #2

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It’s ERP tip time. This series of posts focuses on tips to enhance the effectiveness of your exposure and response prevention (ERP). If you’re interested in more ERP tips, click the following link for all the posts in this series. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Tips for OCD Without further ado, here’s another ERP tip to consider when designing your next exposure. ERP Tip #2 When completing your next exposure, avoid rules that dictate what you’re allowed to think during the exposure. If you try to complete an exposure without having a certain bad thought, chances are that you’re setting yourself up to think that very thought. Instead, design your exposure around having that very same unwanted thought. I love it when people with OCD do exposure, but I don’t love it when they have a long list of...

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ERP Tip of the Day #1

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Starting today, I am going to start posting random ERP tips as they occur to me, as there are certain roadblocks that many of my OCD patients tend to encounter. If it’s helpful for my patients, maybe it’s helpful for you. If you’re interested in more ERP tips, click the following link for all the posts in this series. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Tips for OCD These posts will probably be a bit shorter unless the concept requires a more thorough discussion. Please feel free to leave comments below, if you need more information. Today’s tip is… ERP Tip #1 Do not label your rituals as ERP. Instead embrace openness, defenselessness, and vulnerability. You might think that you never do this, but it happens more often than you think. Some people that I know will encounter triggers for...

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Imaginal Exposure vs. In Vivo Exposure for OCD

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As I’ve talked about in numerous posts, overcoming OCD involves learning to co-exist with doubt and uncertainty. This idea can be a bit counter-intuitive at first, as many people initially expect OCD treatment to reduce uncertainty. One therapeutic approach that helps with this process is exposure and response prevention (ERP) for OCD. Not surprisingly, ERP consists of two parts: 1) exposure, and 2) response prevention. An exposure is when you do something on purpose to provoke an anxiety spike. By definition, exposures are not accidental; rather, they are pre-planned, deliberate offensive strikes against your OCD. Exposures are designed to help you build up your tolerance to fear-producing situations. Exposures are often completed according to an exposure hierarchy, meaning that people typically complete lower level exposures (i.e., less distressing exposures) before gradually working up to higher level ones. Response prevention...

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