Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Therapy
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common disorder that affects all kinds and ages of people. It is characterized by uncontrollable, anxious thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that a person feels compelled to do to relieve the anxiety created by the intrusive thoughts.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s estimated that 1 in 100 adults (that’s between 2 and 3 million adults in the United States) currently have OCD. So if you’re struggling with OCD, you are not alone!
We understand that OCD can really interfere with your life, and we’re here to help with effective therapy approaches that are proven to help with OCD. While OCD is typically a chronic condition, with the right therapy and in some cases, medication, you can manage your OCD so that it doesn’t interfere with your life or make you so miserable.
In other words, your anxiety can get better and even when the thoughts are still there, OCD doesn’t have to run the show!
Working With One of Our OCD Therapists
The most effective treatments for OCD are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and, in some cases, medication. Here’s some information about what that alphabet soup of therapies means!
Cognitive behavioral therapy – CBT helps you learn to challenge and change unhelpful, intrusive thoughts that lead to distressing emotions. The type of CBT that is most effective in treating OCD is called exposure and response prevention therapy.
Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is a guided method of provoking your compulsions through intentional exposure to things that lead to the anxious, obsessive thoughts. By practicing tolerating the anxiety instead of acting on the compulsions, your brain is rewired to see the obsessive thoughts as less threatening. This means that (1) you will learn that you can manage your distress without the compulsive behavior and (2) your anxiety and therefore, compulsive urges, will lessen over time.
While many people say they have tried to resist their compulsions before and it’s been too distressing or not worked, ERP is different in that it is done under the guidance of trained OCD therapist who can coach you through leaning into the anxiety, sticking with it, and resisting the urge to engage in your compulsive behavior.
Acceptance and commitment therapy – The aim of ACT (pronounced like the word, not the individual letters) in treating OCD is to help you became more aware and accepting of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. The idea is that distress is sometimes inevitable since we can’t always control our thoughts and feelings, but we can work on not being overly controlled by them and make choices more in line with our values and life goals. The benefit of this type of therapy is that eliminating obsessions and anxiety is not necessarily required to engage in the compulsion. You can learn to go on about your life even with the obsessive thoughts there in the background.
Our most experienced OCD therapists include:
Cherie Miller, MS, LPC-S
Alessandra Capasso, MS, LPC-Associate
Amy Scott, M.Ed., LPC