We have all learned to do things that prevent scary or bad situations, such as locking our car doors or taking Vitamin C during cold season. In OCD, however, these behaviors can begin to take over one’s life. People with OCD often have disturbing and stressful thoughts, urges, or images (obsessions), such as fears about contracting a terrible disease or picturing oneself hurting another person. People with OCD can develop behaviors or routines to help reduce the distress caused by obsessions, such as frequent hand-washing, checking, or counting. These compulsions can help alleviate anxiety in the short-term but often become repetitive and take over one’s life, leading to more problems. OCD is not simply being a “neat-freak” or being concerned about orderliness; rather these obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming, distressing, and cause significant impairments in daily life.
Potential signs of OCD:
- Preoccupation with certain fears, such as contamination, harming self or others, acting out sexually, or offending God
- Stressful or scary thoughts, images, urges that pop up repeatedly in ones mind, or a frequent feeling that things are not “just right”
- Feeling compelled to do certain behaviors over and over again in order to feel less anxious or get rid of a certain thought
- Feeling like you cannot control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors
- Frequently being late because of compulsive behaviors
Contact Us Now
Dallas CBT specializes in treatment for OCD in children and adults. Contact us today at 214-305-2110 or fill out the contact form below to receive more information about treatment. In addition to traditional in-person therapy, online therapy may potentially be an appropriate treatment option for clients struggling with obsessive compulsive issues (for more information, see our Online Therapy page).
Our state-of-the-art treatment involves Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), an empirically supported treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP involves gradual and systematic exposure to anxiety-provoking situations while simultaneously reducing and eliminating typical fear responses, such as escape or avoidance or compulsive behaviors in OCD (e.g., checking, washing, ordering). With young children, exposure-based CBT requires significant involvement from the parent(s).
The recommended dose for Exposure and Response Prevention is 17 to 20 sessions. These sessions typically last 90 to 120 minutes and are held once or twice weekly. A 12-week treatment program is typical; however, the length of the program can vary and depends on the needs of the individual.
Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that is the most effective for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders. In fact, it is often referred to as the “gold-standard” of psychological treatments for these issues. Exposure involves gradually and systematically confronting fears and anxiety-provoking situations that you have been avoiding, with the aid and support of your therapist. Exposure provides the opportunity to learn that feared consequences are unlikely to come true and that your anxiety will go down naturally over time– and after repeated exposure, it will stay down. Exposures can be conducted as imaginal, where you are asked to imagine a feared situation, in vivo, or real life exposure, and interoceptive, which involves confronting feared bodily sensations. The overarching goal of exposure therapy is to reduce or eliminate avoidance of objectively safe situations, which leads to reduction in anxiety about these situations. Although this treatment causes short-term anxiety, as it involves facing the fears that you have been avoiding, it is the most effective way to gain long-term freedom from anxiety.
In exposure therapy, you can expect to: learn about causes of anxiety and factors maintaining it, identify the role that thoughts play in the anxiety process while learning to frame thoughts differently and, most importantly, engage in gradual and systematic exposure to situations which provoke anxiety. Treatment is tailored to each client, with their specific type of anxiety and their own experiences influencing the content of each component of treatment.