I thought it might be great to have a chat about OCD as I seem to have had a lot of enquiries for this condition recently, mainly brought on by recent global events. It’s a difficult condition as sufferers usually feel embarrassed or ashamed of their compulsions or thoughts and don’t seek help until it has overtaken their lives and is causing distress. So, the fact they are making enquiries and reaching out for help is testament to their bravery and hope for a positive way forward.
This condition involves obsessive thoughts and compulsions that impact your day to day life. It is thought that 1 in 50 of us have experienced this at some point in our lives. Mostly we can rationalize the thoughts and move on however when a person has an unusually high amount of stress or anxiety in their lives then OCD habits or rituals become a way of coping with the stress and gaining some control. However, it soon becomes an obsessive habit and the sufferer then finds it has taken over their lives.
OCD can usually manifest itself in one of the following ways:
Intrusive thoughts, also commonly known as Pure O – these can sometimes be frightening and completely irrational. Sufferers of this condition usually experience intrusive images, impulses or fear of causing harm to themselves or someone else and usually have a violent, sexual or religious theme. Thoughts can range from pushing someone onto an oncoming train, opening the door on a plane while up in the air or seeing a knife and imagining causing harm to someone with it. It is important to understand that there is no evidence of anybody with intrusive thoughts actually carrying out the acts.
Rituals – these can include checking and double and triple checking of light switches, straighteners, gas hobs, locked doors etc... These thoughts lead to high levels of stress and anxiety and sometimes irrational behaviours. While performing these actions gives temporary relief to the anxiety felt, it is short lived and the urge to perform the actions soon returns. Rituals are usually rationalised by persistent thoughts that if not completed then something terrible could happen to their home or family.
Symmetry - Usually in movies, OCD will be portrayed with these habits and rituals of symmetry and having things exact. Perfectionism is associated with this version of OCD. These sufferers will want everything lined up ‘just right’ whether it is in the cupboards at home or in the working area at their place of work. These individuals will mentally count, touch or tap in an attempt to prevent something bad happening to their loved ones. When they do align things up correctly some describe a feeling of being complete.
Contamination & Washing Worries about threats of illness or disease and germs. Sufferers can have a fear of things that appear to be unclean, contaminants, dirt, blood, sticky substances or people or animals that appear unclean. This can lead to a concerted effort to avoid people and places for fear of contamination. To avert feelings of fear people can resort to excessive washing of hands, clothes or areas of the home or workspace.
While we may all joke that we have OCD because we like things a certain way it is not the same as someone suffering with the condition. They experience crippling anxiety and stress and the feelings can become all consuming causing them to retreat from daily tasks such as travelling to work or leaving the house. I have had clients who wear what they call, a mask. They hide their thoughts and compulsions which only gives them more anxiety and stress causing the OCD behaviour to increase. They then become trapped in a vicious circle never seeing a way out. Usually family and friends find it difficult to understand how distressing OCD is and can sometimes be unintentionally unsympathetic.
This condition can reverberate into other areas of the sufferers’ life. The compulsions and rituals take up time so the sufferer will tend to cancel arrangements that may trigger their OCD. They then start a pattern of avoidance. They also find that the obsessive thoughts can be exhausting and leave them with poor concentration levels, so they may start to avoid going to work.
Sufferers will feel isolated as shame of their behaviours and thoughts means they hide their condition from the people around them.
There is no clear reason why a person develops OCD or what can trigger it, however it is thought that a life event like bereavement or giving birth can be a factor. It can also occur with persons who can be generally quite anxious or strive for perfection.
However, with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy I do not look for the reason as this is not important. The past has happened, and you have survived. What is important is that we move forward and guide you, the sufferer to a future where the obsessive thoughts and compulsions are under control and not affecting your life. So, you can feel calm, relaxed and in control in any situation. Hypnotherapy can help by relaxing your mind and reducing the anxiety that you feel on a day to day basis with this condition. I use Psychotherapy and trance. We will explore what has been positive in your week and your goals for moving forward. In trance I have access to the subconscious mind and with indirect suggestion and positive language I will help you create new positive patterns of behaviour to help you move forward in control of your OCD.
Please note results depend on the commitment of the client.
If you would like to have a chat to see if I can help please contact me on one of the medias below.
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Solution Focused Practitioner
T: 07580 041394
Or to book your Initial Consultation: www.havishamhypnotherapy.co.uk/book-online