Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations (obsessions) and engage in behaviors or mental acts in response to these thoughts or obsessions. Often the person carries out the behaviors to reduce the impact or get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only brings temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety. A person’s level of OCD can be anywhere from mild to severe, but if left untreated, it can limit his or her ability to function at work or school or even to lead a comfortable existence at home or around others.

OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults, and the problem can be accompanied by other anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD developed symptoms as children, and research indicates that OCD might run in families.

There are subsets of OCD identified by the particular areas in which someone has obsessive thoughts. These include:

Harm OCD (intrusive thoughts of unknowingly causing harm to self or others),
Pedophilia OCD (intrusive thoughts of harming a child sexually),
Religious OCD, also called Scrupulosity (fear of having blasphemous thoughts or actions),
Contamination OCD (fear of being contaminated or causing contamination),
Somatic OCD (fear of having a disease or problem with one’s body),
Sexual Orientation OCD (involves obsessions about one’s sexuality),
Relationship OCD (leaves people completely unable to tolerate the uncertainty of intimate relationships, giving them obsessions about the “rightness” of their own relationship and the countless other possibilities that daily life brings).

OC-Related Disorders:

Skin picking disorder (excoriation)
Hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania)
Body dysmorphic disorder

This is not an exhaustive list but provides an idea as to the many presentations of OCD. However it manifests itself, OCD is best treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) and Exposure Response and Prevention (ERP). ERP teaches you the skills you need to manage the disorder.

What is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)?

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a cognitive behavioral technique that is used to effectively treat a number of Anxiety disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias and others.

The EXPOSURE involves exposure to feared stimuli such as, thoughts, images, or real life objects. The RESPONSE PREVENTION involves modifying the old response to the feared stimuli such as to prevent escape or avoidant behaviors.

The purpose of ERP is to foster inhibitory learning and habituation. The inhibitory learning model offers the patient an opportunity to generate new cognitive learning that forms new relationships, which override the fear-based associations. This is known as “excitatory meaning.” The goal of the inhibitory learning model is to successfully contradict the old associations to the feared stimuli and achieve a decrease level of anxiety and avoidant behavior. Habituation occurs when you no longer respond to the stimuli in the same way.

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of behavior therapy. It is action based and focuses on personal values and principles. ACT offers an existential, philosophical, and “big picture” perspective on life and presenting issues. ACT teaches the patient to use value-based choices to motivate and promote positive change. Additionally, ACT integrates mindfulness, consciousness, and awareness to help guide the work the patient does in treatment. ACT sets out to teach the patient how to commit to change and accept the distress and discomfort life inevitably provides.

Here at the Works Counseling Center we regard the therapeutic relationship as a collaborative one. Our commitment to you is to respect your intelligence and wisdom, and to honor the forces of positive growth already present within you. We will support you to grow beyond negative patterns of the past, and empower you to move forward with freedom in your life.


Many people describe therapy as a journey, and welcome the opportunity to become more conscious about their inner world, and their potential to open doors to new opportunities in their intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Here at the WCC we challenge you to face the fears and lets us walk with you.

Are you ready to get started? Get help now!