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Scrupulosity Exposure Help?

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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...

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OCD Treatment: Back to Basics

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In previous posts, I have discussed various aspects of the “OCD Cycle,” but it never hurts to have a quick refresher. After all, understanding how OCD works can help you see through its lies and help mobilize you to stand up and challenge it. What is OCD, and how does OCD treatment work? OCD has two mains parts: obsessions and compulsions. We’ll talk about the obsessions first. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that intrude into your awareness, and cause significant anxiety or distress. Thoughts include such examples as, “What if I get sick?”, “What if I secretly want to harm my loved ones?“, “What if I just got sexually aroused by that child?“, and “What if I forgot to lock my front door and someone breaks in?“. Impulses are experienced as urges to commit actions that you...

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Anger and OCD – Getting Mad…

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“I hate having OCD! Why can’t these thoughts just stop?!?! How can I be the person I was before?!?!” Many people with OCD are extremely familiar with the anxiety-related aspects of the disorder. OCD is an anxiety disorder after all, so it’s not terribly surprising that anxiety is often core to its experience. But anxiety is certainly not the only emotion that shows up in OCD. I’ve discussed briefly how some people with OCD have symptoms of guilt, shame, disgust, and depression, and how treatment may sometimes need to be modified when these emotions are primary aspects of the disorder. Today, though, I’d like to comment briefly on anger and OCD, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned explicitly in previous posts. Anger can be a powerful force in many people’s OCD. What’s the relationship between anger and OCD? Actually,...

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Contamination OCD – Long Shower Exposures

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Long shower times? Just a quick announcement… I’m pleased to announce that with our recent office renovations, we now have a spa-like therapeutic shower room that is perfect for individuals with contamination OCD who have excessively long shower times. This room is ideal for those with contamination OCD who wish to work on shower-based response prevention. For individuals with contamination OCD who take really long showers, we are now able to provide office-based interventions for reducing your long shower times. We’ve had great success with reducing our patients long shower times from multiple hours to a mere 10-15 minutes. Reduce Long Shower Times to Short OCD Shower Times We do this first by developing shower-based response prevention guidelines and modeling non-OCD based shower behavior in-session. We essentially use a shower script to help individuals identify normal shower routines (which,...

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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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