What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Therapy?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) counselling is a type of therapy that aims to help individuals with OCD manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. OCD is a mental health condition characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions) in an attempt to reduce anxiety or prevent a feared outcome.
Counselling for OCD typically involves a cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) approach, which focuses on changing patterns of thought and behaviour that contribute to OCD symptoms. The therapist may use exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, a specific type of CBT, which involves exposing the individual to feared situations or stimuli and helping them learn to resist performing compulsive behaviours.
The goals of OCD counselling may include reducing the frequency and intensity of obsessions and compulsions, improving daily functioning and relationships, and developing coping skills to manage symptoms. It may also involve helping individuals identify and address underlying issues, such as anxiety or depression, that can exacerbate OCD symptoms.
OCD counselling may be conducted in individual or group settings, and the length of treatment can vary depending on the severity of symptoms and individual needs. It is important to note that while OCD can be a challenging condition to manage, with the help of therapy and other support, many individuals are able to successfully manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.
What is an obsession?
We all have thoughts, ideas or beliefs that preoccupy us. In most cases, we are able to manage those thoughts, either by ignoring them or by taking action on them. Obsessions go beyond the bounds of normal preoccupation. They are thoughts and ideas that persist to the extent of intruding on daily activities, and they do not go away in spite of repeated actions to mitigate them.
For example, many people worry about leaving the house with the stove turned on, even if they have not been cooking. They will go into the kitchen before they go out to ensure that everything is turned off and that the house is safe. With this done, they are able to go to work or school without further worry. Someone with an obsession, however, might get halfway to work and then decide to return home to check the stove a second, third or fourth time.
Some common obsessions include the following:
- The need to arrange clothing, books and other items alphabetically, by size or by colour
- A fear of germs and disease
- Needing constant reassurance that the water is not running or that the stove is turned off
- High levels of anxiety when an object does not fit a pattern, such as a piece of furniture not being perfectly lined up
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What is a compulsion?
All of us have personal rituals that we follow, either because they comfort us or because they make our lives easier. These rituals vary from person to person, and include following a specific sequence of activities at bedtime, or arranging the contents of a drawer or shelf in a particular way.
While these activities reduce anxiety in most of us, they add to the anxiety in people who suffer from compulsions. The more the individual engages in the action, the more they feel that they have to. These compulsive behaviours vary widely from person to person, but some of the more common ones include the following:
- Repeatedly sorting or arranging objects with extreme precision, and anger toward anyone who inadvertently breaks the pattern
- Washing hands until they are raw and bleeding
- Watching the same video segments again and again
- Constantly checking that doors are locked, and that the lights and water are turned off, even if this means returning home
- Silently repeating a word, phrase or pattern of numbers
How does therapy work for OCD?
Counselling for OCD typically involves a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approach, which aims to help individuals with OCD understand and manage their symptoms.
The therapy sessions may include the following elements:
Assessment: The therapist will work with the individual to gain a better understanding of their specific symptoms, triggers, and how OCD impacts their daily life.
Psychoeducation: The therapist will educate the individual about OCD, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments. This can help reduce the shame and guilt that individuals with OCD often experience.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): This is a specific type of CBT that involves gradually exposing the individual to situations that trigger their obsessions while preventing them from engaging in compulsive behaviours. Over time, this can help reduce the anxiety associated with OCD.
Cognitive Restructuring: This involves identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that contribute to OCD symptoms. The therapist may work with the individual to reframe their thoughts in a more realistic and helpful way.
Relaxation Techniques: The therapist may teach the individual relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, to help manage anxiety and stress associated with OCD.
Maintenance and Relapse Prevention: Once the individual has learned coping skills and strategies to manage their OCD symptoms, the therapist will work with them to develop a plan for maintaining their progress and preventing relapse.
It’s important to note that counselling for OCD is highly individualized and tailored to the specific needs of each person. The length and frequency of therapy sessions can vary depending on the severity of symptoms and individual needs. The goal of counselling for OCD is to help individuals learn to manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and develop a sense of control over their thoughts and behaviours.
Why is OCD therapy important?
OCD therapy is important because OCD can significantly impair an individual’s quality of life, making it difficult to carry out daily activities, maintain relationships, and pursue personal and professional goals. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that involves intrusive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that cause significant distress and often lead to repetitive behaviours or mental acts (compulsions) that are aimed at reducing anxiety.
Without treatment, OCD can become chronic and progressively worse, leading to significant impairment in functioning, social isolation, and even depression. However, with effective treatment, individuals with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and achieve significant improvement in their quality of life.
OCD therapy, particularly CBT and ERP, has been shown to be highly effective in reducing OCD symptoms and improving functioning. Research has consistently demonstrated that a majority of individuals with OCD who receive therapy experience significant improvement in their symptoms and functioning.
Overall, OCD therapy is important because it offers individuals with OCD hope for a better life, free from the debilitating effects of their symptoms. It helps individuals regain control over their lives and improve their ability to engage in meaningful activities and relationships.
Who uses OCD therapy services?
OCD therapy services are used by individuals who have been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or suspect they may have OCD. OCD can affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It is estimated that around 1-2% of the general population has OCD.
People who use OCD therapy services may be experiencing distressing and intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses (obsessions) that lead them to perform repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) aimed at reducing their anxiety. These compulsions may include things like repetitive hand washing, checking behaviors, or mental rituals such as counting.
OCD therapy services may be used by individuals who have not yet received a formal diagnosis, but are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with their daily functioning and quality of life.
OCD therapy services may also be used by family members or loved ones of individuals with OCD, who seek support and guidance on how to help their loved ones cope with the disorder.
Overall, OCD therapy services are used by individuals who are looking for effective treatment and support to manage their OCD symptoms and improve their quality of life.
When to seek help for OCD?
If you are experiencing OCD symptoms that interfere with your daily life or cause significant distress, it is important to seek professional help. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek help for OCD:
Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are interfering with your ability to carry out daily activities, such as work, school, or socializing.
Your obsessions and compulsions are causing significant distress, anxiety, or depression.
You spend a lot of time each day engaging in compulsive behaviors, such as checking, washing, or counting, and you feel unable to stop them.
You experience intense anxiety or panic attacks related to your OCD symptoms.
You find that your symptoms are getting worse, or that you are having difficulty managing them on your own.
If any of these apply to you, it may be time to seek professional help from a mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can diagnose and treat OCD. They may recommend therapy, medication, or a combination of both to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
How much does OCD Therapy cost?
The cost of OCD therapy can vary depending on several factors such as the type of therapy, the frequency and duration of the sessions, the qualifications and experience of the therapist, and the location of the therapist’s practice.
In general, the cost of therapy for OCD can range around $160 per session, and sessions typically last 55-60 minutes.
It’s important to note that the cost of therapy should not be a barrier to seeking treatment for OCD.
Overall, the cost of OCD therapy may vary depending on various factors, but it’s essential to consider the benefits of treatment and find a therapist who is a good fit for you and your budget.
How Our Psychotherapists in Vaughan Can Help You
At InnerSight Psychotherapy, we recognize the anguish that goes with a condition like OCD. We are here to help you. Whether your symptoms are the result of a genetic predisposition to OCD, a response to trauma or abuse, or a manifestation of mental illness, our therapists and counsellors can help you discover ways to manage your symptoms and regain part of your life.