What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder which affects about just over 1% of people in the UK. It is characterised by the person experiencing repetitive thoughts or urges that are distressing. OCD affects all ages, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds. It often takes years for the person to seek help, recieve a correct diagnosis and proper treatment.
As the nature of the thoughts can feel shameful as well as upsetting it can be difficult for someone to tell their partner, family, or doctor what they are experiencing.
I am here to help you.
It’s normal to have unwanted thoughts which can be upsetting, such as hurting someone or a burglar breaking in. However, if obsessive thoughts are persistent, and dominate your thinking to the exclusion of other thoughts, interfering with your daily life, then this could be an Obsession.
Some common obsessions that affect people with OCD include:
- fear of deliberately harming yourself or others – e.g. fear you may attack someone else, such as your children
- fear of harming yourself or others by mistake – e.g. fear you may set the house on fire by leaving the cooker on
- fear of contamination by disease, infection or an unpleasant substance
- a need for symmetry or orderliness – e.g. you may feel the need to line up tins in the cupboard facing forward at exactly the same angle.
- fears related to your sexuality or relationship
- fears that question a pre-held religious belief
You may have obsessive thoughts of a violent or sexual nature relating to someone close to you that you find repulsive or frightening. But they’re just thoughts and having them does not mean you’ll act on them.
If something is upsetting, we want it to go away, right? This resutls in compulsions; behaviours that we use, to try and relieve the distress we experience by the thought we have.
Common types of compulsive behaviour in people with OCD include:
- cleaning and hand washing
- checking – such as checking doors are locked or that the gas is off/plugs are out
- counting, and using multiples of certain numbers
- ordering and arranging
- hoarding (can be an issue on its own or a linked beahaviour)
- asking for reassurance
- repeating words in your head
- thinking “neutralising” thoughts to counter the obsessive thoughts
- avoiding places and situations that could trigger obsessive thoughts
- carrying something that offers protection or safety.
..and here’s the catch…
Although the compulsion may reduce the anxiety or distress, the relief is short lived; with the return of the thoughts, comes more distress and the need to repeat the compulsive behaviour again and again. This is a bear trap!
So, what happens in a CBT Session?
Our first session is an assessment session and will last 60-75 minutes. This will give us time to discuss your current difficulties and goals for treatment. Its also a chance for you to decide if you want to work with me!
At the end of this session you will leave with an understanding of how the OCD model for CBT works and suggested targets for treatment.
Whats’ next ?
Subsequent sessions will be 50 minutes long.
I aim to help you overcome your difficulties with a range of techniques to provide you with a ‘took-kit’ to take away at the end of treatment.
In this way it is a very practical therapy working more in the ‘here and now’ than traditional psychotherapy.
As CBT is a collaborative process, you may be asked to try out some of these techniques between sessions such as keeping a thought diary for discussion next time; and in this way CBT is a collaborative process.
What techniques do you use to treat my OCD?
- Helping you understand the vicious cycle of your OCD and the difference between obsessions and compulsions
- Identify what your compulsive behaviours are, how they maintain the problem
- Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) using a hierarchy of graded exposure. Examples are; letting go of avoidance, rituals or exposure to a recording of the thoughts. The style of exposure work is dependant on the individual issue and can involve going out of the therapy room for some live exposure
- Relabelling your thoughts to ‘dial down’ the volume and frequency
- ‘Homework’ between sessions
- Leave therapy sessions with a toolkit of strategies to use for any future OCD type thoughts
How many sessions will I need?
Depending on the complexity of your situation this will vary.
However, it is important to attend regularly, and I always recommend weekly sessions for the first weeks in order for us to make quick progress.
It’s difficult to predict an “average” amount of sessions. Usually more than 10 is suggested , with the option of top up ‘booster’ sessions if required.
During treatment we will regularly take stock, summarise progress and check you are getting the most out of your sessions.
I can see you on Monday to Wednesday from 10am – 7pm.
I work online and from Rochester House, just off Palmeria Square Hove.
Cost and Insurance
Sessions are £95 for 50 minutes, or by arrangement with your insurance provider (BUPA, AXA).
For the initial assessment, please allow up to 75 minutes, at no extra charge. I take accept card payment, cash or cheque.
What is CBT?
Please read more information about CBT here.