CBT Newtownabbey

The primary feature of OCD is that it is a disorder of thinking, and very often this thinking drives the person to do something to make their distress lessen.

We all experience the same process...... imagine you lock up at night, and then a minute later the thought occurs to you "did I really lock up". The doubt (and the resulting unease it causes) will make it likely you re-check the door "just to be sure". For most people there are everyday activities which we tend to repeat – even though we know we have already done them. Examples are locking and re-locking our door, checking and re-checking that windows are closed securely, or repeatedly checking that gas / plugs etc are turned off. If we do not re-check, we may feel “ill-at-ease” and it might be difficult to relax.

For some people this pattern of behaviour can become over-developed and they develop specific routines to ensure that their particular fears are eased. They start to think about the threats in an “obsessional” manner ie. over and over. Then because of the tension this causes, they feel “compelled” to act to reduce the tension. The person learns that carrying out their repeated behaviours helps them to diminish this tension ie. they feel better. Unfortunately for some people, these tension-reducing behaviours become like rituals, and they become fixed. It can be difficult to break the cycles which develop, and they can have a major impact on the persons’ life.

Our programmes start with developing awareness of the many subtle ways that individuals unwittingly keep their ritualistic cycles going. We look at the thoughts they have, the feelings these generate, and how the behaviours actually prevent them from having a more fulfilling life. Using a process known as “response prevention” we work along with clients to steadily reduce the problem behaviours, and at the same time we look at how they might deal with their tensions in more productive ways........