Recently I have been working with a couple of clients to combat their Purely Obsessional OCD or Pure O as it is commonly known. An Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that manifests into Intrusive thoughts. These Intrusive thoughts are persistent, disturbing and completely distressing. They can leave sufferers with feelings of shame, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Most of us, approximately 4 out of 5, have Intrusive thoughts from time to time but we can shake them off and move on. Approximately 1 in 50 people are unable to do this, which leads to them developing OCD rituals and compulsions to try to stop the thoughts.
Intrusive thoughts are obsessional and have various themes including:
Violence - fearing you will hurt someone or yourself violently, ie; opening the door of a plane mid-flight or on a car journey, pushing someone off the train platform or even seeing a knife in the house and imagining stabbing someone with it
Sexual - Unwanted and unpleasant sexual thoughts and feelings about family, friends, colleagues or your boss, or the fear of acting inappropriately towards children
Health - Worrying that something terrible will happen to you or someone you love
They can repeat over and over and faster and faster making us think we will act on them and can interfere with the sufferer's day to day life. They can cause the sufferer to avoid driving in certain places, to stop going on airplanes, or keep knives locked away in a drawer. To cope, habits and rituals develop which are not always visible. These habits and rituals soon become Compulsions.
There have been no official records of anyone suffering from Intrusive thoughts to have acted out these thoughts, however, they fear they will.
Here, it is important to understand the area of the mind that is in control when habits and rituals start to control us. So, let me introduce you to The Primitive mind. This is our original mind, designed to protect us from wild beasts and to ensure our survival. The centre and most influential part of this mind is the Amygdala – this is the flight, fight, freeze area of the mind and usually operates in the guise of anxiety, depression or anger. This area is vigilant and is always looking out for danger, or, what it perceives as danger. It has two other areas it is associated with, the Hypothalamus which regulates the chemicals in our body and mind and the Hippocampus which holds all of our, usually, inappropriate patterns and templates of behaviour. The Primitive mind will always use previous patterns of behaviour to ensure our survival – so if what we did yesterday ensured our survival, it encourages us to do the same again and again and again. It is vigilant, obsessional and negative. It is here, where obsessive thoughts and compulsions lie.
It only takes one event to happen in our lives to cause us anxiety or distress and it doesn't have to be a very big event. From this, the fear that we feel activates a rush of adrenaline and the behaviour pattern we previously used to dispel the feelings of fear is encouraged to be used again and again. For some it could be touching the light switches several times or checking things multiple times ie; phones, hair straighteners, locked doors, etc...
Sufferers of OCD develop the habits and rituals that they think will make them stop having the thoughts and feel a small amount of relief when they perform the ritual. However, the feeling of relief soon dissipates, and the doubts and uncertainties caused by OCD will return and the rituals are continued or intensified.
So how can we help?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps by encouraging you to focus on what is good in your life. To start to notice all the small things that make you happy and encourage you to boost serotonin levels naturally, helping you to focus on what you WANT, not what you don’t want. We advocate positive interactions, activities and positive thoughts to boost serotonin levels. Having a constant flow of serotonin ensures we think with a positive mindset and do not dwell on negatives.
Using the very latest neuroscience research we help you to understand that the intrusive thoughts are only thoughts, not something real that will be acted on. Finishing the session with a relaxing trance cements the work we have done together and leaves you feeling calm and positive – giving you HOPE for recovery.
It is acknowledged by the charity for OCD that Hypnotherapy is beneficial for anxiety – as OCD is anxiety driven, we are confident that we can help you move from the fear and distress of intrusive thoughts to a calm and happy life, a life where you have control over your thought and behaviour patterns.
If you think that obsessive, compulsive behaviour is disrupting your life please give me a call on 07580 041394 or click a link below for my website or social media.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapist