OCD is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. If you are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), counselling and psychotherapy can help you regain control over the obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals that are affecting your life.
An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought/image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind causing feelings of anxiety and unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to relieve the unpleasant feelings.
For example, you might find you need to check repeatedly that all your appliances are turned off before you leave your house each day, or you might think that everything around you is covered in germs and the only way to feel better about it, is to wash your hands many times throughout the day.
Some people with OCD can be reluctant to seek help, as they feel embarrassed or ashamed, but the sooner you seek treatment for OCD, the better the prognosis.
Although it is never too late to get help, early treatment can help keep the symptoms of OCD and its disruptions to your daily life, to a minimum.
Paul Glynn holds over 30 years experience as a therapist and is KlearMinds Clinical Director. Paul offers a warm, pragmatic and interactive approach to help you understand and go beyond the difficulties you are facing. He is passionate about empowering clients to develop the tools that can help them to resolve stuckness and positively change repetitive, problematic behaviours.
Maggie is an award winning psychotherapist, an accomplished life coach and counsellor, and Director of KlearMinds. In 2007 she was awarded the BACP National Award for advancing the quality of therapy service provision to the highest standards in the UK. Maggie’s experience spans over 20 years helping people overcome problems so they can enjoy more fulfilling and satisfying lives.
Judy is a highly experienced psychotherapist. She utilizes a wide range of therapies, including CBT and psychoeducation to help her clients. She also holds considerable experience providing Career Coaching, Mindfulness Meditation and Mediation. Judy draws on a wealth of experiencing and works proactively with clients to help them understand and positively change patterns of thinking and behaviour which hold them back in life.
Andrea is a highly experienced relationship therapist and coach, with over 15 years clinical experience providing marriage and relationship counselling. She is passionate about empowering couples to be the best version of themselves and to live their best lives. She can help you and your partner to identify and address the root causes of problematic patterns which have a negative impact on your relationship.
Mita is a highly experienced psychotherapist and counsellor with over 20 years of clinical experience. She is passionate about helping clients overcome issues they have been struggling with for months and sometimes years. Mita draws upon a range of therapies including, CBT, Mindfulness and EMDR, which she tailors to best suit each client she works with.
Kate is a highly skilled therapist. She has worked successfully in a variety of settings, including media, TV, journalism, law and higher education. She draws upon a broad range of therapeutic skills including existential, CBT, mindfulness and psychoeducation to enable clients to achieve the outcomes they want, in terms of professional and personal satisfaction and wellbeing.
Karen is a highly experienced psychologist, executive and career coach with more than 15 years experience helping adults address a wide range of concerns. Karen draws upon a variety of therapies and coaching skills, tailoring her approach, to best suit the learning style of each client. Karen works proactively. She can help you understand and constructively change problematic beliefs and patterns of behaviour that inhibit your ability to realise your personal goals.
Amanda is a highly experienced Advanced CBT and Integrative therapist with more than 8 years experience. She draws upon a wide range of therapies and works proactively to help clients understand, process and resolve their concerns and conflicts. Amanda can assist you to quickly identify problematic thoughts and behaviours which negatively impact your personal and professional well-being.
Jodie is a psychotherapist with several years experience helping individuals address a wide range of concerns. She works collaboratively using a variety of therapies, including CBT psychoeducation and coaching skills to empower clients to make positive changes. Jodie draws upon a range of theories and techniques best suited to the needs of each client, helping them to understand and change patterns of unhelpful behaviour, which can hold them back.
Tania is an experienced psychotherapist and couples counsellor. She is highly skilled in helping couples and individuals address a wide range of concerns. She has a warm, collaborative, insightful approach and uses a range of therapies including psychodynamic and mindfulness, to enable her clients to understand and resolve issues constructively.
Dr Justin Basquille
Dr Basquille is Consultant Psychiatrist with over 20 years experience helping patients with mental health concerns, within the NHS and private practice. As a psychiatrist, he provides a medical service that focuses on the diagnosing and treatment of a wide range of mental health conditions and psychiatric disorders. He can evaluate, assess and recommend a course of medication which can provide you with physical, mental and emotional relief for a range of psychological concerns.
If you suspect that you might have OCD, a course of psychotherapy treatment can be helpful. If your obsessions and compulsions:
Generally speaking, anywhere between 13 and 20 sessions are typically enough to note dramatic improvements. In some cases, when obsessions are particularly debilitating, you may benefit from taking anti-depressant medication in conjunction with counselling or psychotherapy. Medication is typically administered under the guidance of a doctor and tends to be used in the short-term, if needed.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is shown to be particularly effective in the treatment of OCD. This type of counselling aims to show people that it is not just the thoughts that are the problem; instead, it is also the way that you act upon the thoughts that leads to difficulties. CBT can help you recognise unhelpful thinking and show you how to replace problematic thought patterns with balanced and more positively productive perspectives and behaviours. It may be used in conjunction with other types of therapy for OCD, such as exposure and response prevention.
Because the main focus in CBT therapy for OCD is upon current triggers and how to understand and manage them, at KlearMinds, when useful, we include psychotherapy approaches into the work that can help you address historic aspects of obsessive compulsive disorder, that are not addressed by a CBT approach alone. This means that you don’t just learn how to address current triggers but you also understand their problematic roots. This can lead to a more lasting and comprehensive addressing of OCD, which can powerfully help to prevent future relapses.
Psychotherapy for OCD can take place individually or in a group setting.
These days Counselling for OCD is often a label used to describe a CBT or psychotherapy approach. As with psychotherapy, any counselling approach used will be most effective if it integrates elements of cognitive behavioural therapy into the work.
Exposure and response prevention counselling can also be used to treat OCD. This approach involves repeatedly exposing yourself to your obsession and then denying yourself the ritual compulsive action. For example, you might have to touch something you fear is dirty and then resist the urge to wash your hands afterward. This is something that usually occurs within a therapy session under the guidance of your therapist at first, but you might eventually be instructed to also do this on your own.
At the beginning of therapy, you might be asked to list your rituals and obsessions and then rank each one according to the amount of anxiety it induces (for example, things like shaking hands or using the bathroom for those with a fear of germs). You might start by tackling something that only causes a moderate amount of anxiety and then work your way up to bigger issues. The pace of therapy is always designed to enable you to tackle rituals and obsessions at a manageable pace.
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This page was written by Maggie Morrow (MSc, BSc, Adv Dip, UKCP) and medically reviewed in February 2022.