What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? (OCD)

Obsessions and compulsions can be difficult to live with. If your life is becoming disrupted by unwanted thoughts and actions, Gestalt Therapy can really help you.

Obsessions are thoughts, pictures or impulses that are not pleasant if they come to mind, when we don’t want them.

They can cause us to feel anxious, frightened and uncomfortable. Many different things can be the trigger for these feelings.

The compulsion is the behaviour, which we perform in order to try to alleviate the obsession.

Often these compulsions are strange or seem irrational, like washing repeatedly because of fear of contamination or counting sets of numbers for so many minutes or checking or re-checking light switches and electric appliances before leaving the house or before going to bed.

I remember one client whose home life as a child, was chaotic and who would bunk off school, preferring to scrub the house from top to bottom.

In my experience OCD often seems to be linked with lack of order, chaotic lifestyle, anxiety and panic attacks, substance abuse and many unresolved issues.

We may have guilty thoughts, feel agitation and tension or anxiety and we may seek reassurance from someone we can trust, avoid situations where we may feel at risk or keep things inside, bottled up. This is called introjection. Or we may have a compulsive reaction, a sort of ritual, which helps us to feel some sense of relief.

People who experience OCD often feel guilty and think that they must be very bad people to have such thoughts and unfortunately, this may make the thought more likely to return, since it is given negative importance in the person’s mind.

So there is a sort of vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts leading to feeling anxious or tense and this is disruptive. Then the compulsive behaviour or thoughts, attempt to relieve the obsession and for a time, there may be some relief but this is short lived, because the negative thoughts creep in and the process starts again.

In therapy, in the safe and confidential space we can co-create, it is possible to find where these disruptive thoughts and feelings have started and I help my clients to get this into perspective in the here and now.

We don’t try to get rid of the obsessive thoughts and actions but accept them. We all have irrational thoughts at some time and it doesn’t mean that we are bad people.

Some of my clients have actually been able to smile at their OCD and don’t feel the need to “put it right”

Because they are being kinder to themselves, the thoughts are not being invited back in, to be disruptive.

Do have a look at some of my testimonials where you can read what client’s have said about working with OCD in therapy.

 

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