Recently I have been working with several students that are affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental health disorder that can affect people of different age groups or walks of life where they get caught up in a circle of obsessive and compulsive behaviour. OCD can involve unwanted/intrusive thoughts, urges and images that can trigger intense and distressing feelings.
Types of obsession can be:
- Fear of contamination – dirt, germs or mental contamination with uncomfortable feelings of internal uncleanliness
- Religious, Relationship, Violent and Sexual intrusive thoughts or images- can be a fixation with a celebrity, the Devil and the number 666 or a person from a previous relationship
- Fears/Worries related to order or symmetry – a fear that something bad will happen if everything is not exactly right or in the correct place or order.
Types of compulsion can be:
- Rituals – excessive hand washing, arranging objects in a particular way
- Checking – excessive checking that doors are locked, checking directions to somewhere over and over again
- Correcting Thoughts – counting to a certain number before doing something or replacing an intrusive thought with a different image
- Reassurance – repeatedly checking with people to confirm that everything is alright
In my experience of working with these students I have found the following to be very useful in assisting them to move forward with their OCD:
- Listening and understanding what their fears and thoughts are about
- Gently questioning them to find out what their triggers and symptoms are
- Building their awareness of what happens to their thoughts and physiology when experiencing OCD
- Finding out how they want to move forward and what will work specifically for them
- Creating specific, realistic and time related goals that they can achieve
- Managing change on a small and gradual scale that is not extreme to them and their world
People with OCD can get unwanted thoughts throughout the day which can be very distressing and affect their ability to socialise with others and concentrate on their studies or career.
Young people have told me that finding somebody they can trust and building an open relationship is vital if they are to change and improve their OCD.
If you know of someone that has OCD and would benefit from working with me then please get in touch.