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Scrupulosity Exposure Help?

Religious OCD (Scrupulosity)

Please help us complete this exposure for scrupulosity (religious OCD).

So this post is a bit different than my regular posts… Rather than discussing a specific aspect about OCD or anxiety, this post is a request for your assistance in completing an exposure.

Here’s the background…

I have a patient with scrupulosity (religious OCD) who is working to resist his prayer rituals. Oftentimes, his OCD will lead him to pray many, many times throughout the day in response to various triggers he encounters. One of his primary treatment goals is to be able to reduce unhealthy, OCD-based prayers throughout the day.

Scrupulosity treatment can be challenging, but he’s doing a great job. At this stage, we are trying to ratchet things up a notch by having him purposefully expose himself to situations where people request prayers from him directly.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been asking people who come to the office to write down “prayer requests” for him. After reviewing these requests, he is to actively resist praying on their behalf. The exposure goal is for him to know that there is actually a person out there with a real prayer need who is requesting help — BUT… to be able to actively resist the urge to pray and then effectively manage any resulting anxiety, guilt, or distress.

In other words, his ERPs involve receiving “message in a bottle” prayer requests that he then tosses back into the ocean without responding to them.

For those of you without OCD, this goal might seem strange. Why not pray for people who need help? This is because many people with religious scrupulosity find themselves getting stuck in prayer rituals for countless hours each day, even in situations where prayer is neither warranted nor appropriate.
Prayer can become dissociated from its intended purpose and become more of an anxiety- or guilt-driven compulsion than part of a healthy spiritual life. For people with religious OCD, it becomes critically important to be able to perceive a need for prayer and yet not respond.

Scrupulosity (Religious OCD) Treatment (ERP)

Here’s where you come in… I’d like the ocean to be a bit bigger than my office (which is actually more pond-like). If you have a moment and would like to help someone else with their scrupulosity ERPs, please feel free to submit a prayer request in the comments below. For privacy reasons, feel free to use a FAKE NAME when you comment. However, please make it a REAL REQUEST. Remember, the point of this exercise is not to have prayers sent your way — but rather to give someone with OCD an opportunity to resist OCD-based urges to pray.

FYI, the comments below will not appear immediately after you post. They’re moderated, so keep that in mind if you participate. Also, I’m requesting that the comments remain a reassurance-free zone. Any replies that are reassurance-based will not be approved.

Lastly — if you also happen to have scrupulosity — feel free to incorporate the prayer requests below into an exposure of your very own. However, please respect the intention of the exposure and do not pray for any of the requests below. If you can’t resist, please click away now. 🙂

Thanks for your help!

Here are the instructions from our original “Message in a Bottle” exposure…

Dear Person Reading This,

Please help me with my exposure.

I have scrupulosity (religious OCD), and I’m working on resisting urges to pray. To help me out, please leave your prayer requests below. My goal is to be able to read your prayer requests and then not pray for you. Feel free to make it challenging for me by sharing how much you need prayer or by telling me how much pain you’re feeling.

Thanks in advance for your help.




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19 Comments

  1. Thank you for asking for prayer requests. The teenage daughter of a dear friend has been in a children’s hospital intensive care unit since April 9. She finally a bit more stable (“critical stable”). I would ask prayers for her health, the mother’s well-being and for them both to feel assurance of G-
    _d’s love around them. My friend is an atheist and my heart aches for her at this time. Thank you again.

  2. Please pray for me. My final exams are in 2 weeks, and my grades have plummeted because of my OCD. If I don’t do really well on my exams, I’m in danger of losing my scholarship, which would most likely mean that I’ll need to take a break from school.

  3. I’ve been going through a lot lately, and I’ve begun questioning my faith. It’s actually scary to see myself writing this out, because I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself. I don’t want to feel this way, but I can’t understand how or why God would let all this happen to me. I know it’s not my place to have to understand His plans, but I’m really struggling right now to accept everything that has happened. Please pray that I’m able to get through this, that God will grant me strength, and that my faith will be restored and strengthened. Thank you.

  4. There is a very young child who has almost died several times in his 12 months on earth. He stops breathing and doesn’t oxygenate his blood properly. He had been released to go to his home and finally be a baby in the family home. This weekend he turned blue again and was rushed by air to the nearest hospital that can treat his complex case. He is back on a ventilator and once more living in the hospital.

    His parents ask that everyone pray for him. I am asking you to pray for this tiny baby and his very scared family.

  5. Hello Scrupulosity Guy. I’m an atheist, and the only thing that can bring me to Faith and Salvation is the sincere prayer of a true believer who has love in his heart. Without your prayers I will remain Lost in this world and doomed to an eternity of Hell in the next world. God’s mercy and forgiveness can be granted only if you pray for me – my life depends on you.

  6. My daughter needs to have an operation on her spine and I am concerned that there will be complications. Please pray that the operation will be a success and that she will recover quickly without too many problems and be able to lead a full and happy life in the future.

    Thank you for your prayers.

  7. My sister is going in for her checkup to make sure she is cancer free from her recent treatments. The thoughts of having her go this this again are overwhelming and scary. She is requesting prayer from people that she has been healed and has many more years to enjoy with her husband and children.

  8. Please pray for me- I moved to the Seattle area from WI at the end of last summer after finishing grad school. Anxiety and depression are making it extremely difficult to meet people and make friends, and I spend all of my free-time alone. I feel lost and pathetic. Please pray that I would have the energy to move forward during this time of loneliness. Thank you!

  9. My cousin’s dog disappeared, and we don’t know what happened to it. We’re afraid that it ran away and might have been hit by a car. Please pray that she returns safely home.

  10. Please, pray for me! I suffer from a severe form of OCD. This is what brought me to this web site. I tried all kinds of therapy, but it won’t go away. I’m so tired …
    Thank you in advance!

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