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The O of OCD are the Obsessions

That is thoughts that pop into your head that cause anxiety and distress.  In therapy, we call these intrusive thoughts.  They are often in direct conflict with what is important to you as a person.  OCD is a bully and like a bully will pick on the things that mean the most to you, making you feel afraid and unsafe.  You are probably finding that you are not able to ignore and distract yourself from these thoughts.  These lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment and guilt and of course, anxiety and fear.

The most common and well-known obsessions are around the fear of contamination.  That could be from germs, illness, asbestos and all sorts of other things.  This can lead to behaviours to try to keep yourself and others safe such as excessive handwashing, bleaching everything, changing your clothes often, frequent showers or other forms of cleaning (see compulsions). 


Obsessions can be about so many different things.  Other examples are fear of causing harm in some way to others, fears around leaving appliances on, plugs switched on and causing floods or fires often leading to relentless checking (another compulsion).

Other obsessions can be around violence, death of others, blasphemy and unwanted sexual thoughts.  Children often find it difficult to say what their fears are around them or are too scared to say them out loud in case they come true (we call this ‘magical thinking’ in therapy).

Worried about OCD sad women on couch. Jane Watkins is a specialist in treating OCD online using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for OCD, along with CFT and ACT.
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