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Counselling, Psychotherapy, CBT & Mindfulness in Central London & Online

OCD Therapy in London & Online (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

COVID-19 notice: Online and Telephone OCD Therapy is now provided for continued care, support and safety. Get a free 15min consultation or book a session here.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common difficulty among the UK population. If you are struggling with OCD, chances are your life is being disrupted by difficult thoughts and rituals (compulsions) taking away precious time for your everyday activities. Counselling, Therapy and CBT can be the answer to your issues. OCD therapy can provide you with the tools to take back control and live the life that you want. Read on to find out more about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and get in touch with one our our expert OCD Therapists to get professional OCD therapy in London & Online today.

 

What is OCD?

OCD, Obsessive compulsive disorder, can cause distressing and intrusive thoughts and subsequent negative emotions

OCD is a common mental health issue, often fuelled by distressing thoughts and images, leading to unpleasant emotions

OCD is an anxiety-based issue, characterised by distressing thoughts, or obsessions, which lead a person to feel compelled to carry out an action in order to dispel the distressing thoughts and associated anxiety. OCD can range from mild to severe in terms of the distress it causes and the impact it has upon an individual’s life. Being absorbed by obsessional thoughts and engaging in lengthy compulsive behaviours can take up a lot of time and energy which interferes and takes time away from engaging on other, more valuable activities.

This can lead to OCD having a detrimental impact upon various aspects of a person’s life, including school, work, hobbies and relationships. A large number of people who experience OCD also suffer with depression making it an even more challenging problem to overcome. Our OCD therapists are highly knowledgeable and experienced who can work with you to develop a tailored OCD therapy plan. We can help you to tackle your OCD, to reduce the distress it causes as well as the impact it has upon you life so it no longer has a hold over you.

OCD consists of, as the term implies, obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted and persistent thoughts and images that enter your mind that cause you to feel uneasy, anxious and/or disgusted.

Examples of common obsessions are:

  •   Fear of contamination/germs
  •   Fear that something awful might happen (e.g. house will burn down, someone will break in) if you don’t take sufficient precaution
  •   Thoughts or images that you will cause harm or have caused harm (such as physical or sexual harm) to others
  •   Thoughts or images of your loved ones dead or coming to harm
  •   Things in your life not being correct or symmetrical or in the right order
  •   Blasphemous thoughts

A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour (either an action that you/others can see or an action you may do in your mind) that you feel compelled to do to relieve the unpleasantness brought on by the obsession. You may feel you need to carry out the compulsion to prevent a bad thing from happening.

Examples of common compulsions are:

  •   Checking doors and windows are locked
  •   Checking plug sockets and appliances are switched off
  •   Tapping things
  •   Having a particular routine that, if not done in what you deem to be the correct way, you feel you have to repeat from the beginning
  •   Doing things a certain number of times or until it feels right
  •   Washing and cleaning excessively
  •   Thinking something to yourself to put right frightening thoughts
  •   Avoiding situations where you feel you could cause harm to others e.g. avoid being around knives

What Causes OCD?

Despite a wealth of research into OCD, there continues to be some uncertainty around the cause. No one definitive cause has been found that fully explains OCD for everyone that experiences it. Your OCD therapist will be able to look specifically at what might have fostered the development of OCD for you, including your personal and family history. At a general level, research and clinical experience suggest that various factors can make it more likely that someone will develop OCD, these include:

  •   Genetic Factors: Research shows that having a family member with OCD can increase the chances of you developing OCD. However, some sufferers of OCD do not have any family members who suffer from it and to date no gene candidate has been identified in causing OCD   
  •   Environment: Experiencing high levels of stress and having a parent or parents who are highly anxious can increase the risk of developing OCD
  •   Personality: Certain traits may play a role in the developing of OCD, such as, being meticulous, having high standards, striving for control and certainty

When Should I Get Help with OCD?

It is particularly important to seek help from an OCD therapist if your issues are causing a high degree of distress and having a detrimental impact upon your life. There are some people who experience OCD where it is not severe and it doesn’t have a significant impact upon their lives – such people may not seriously consider seeking psychological help and therapy for OCD. However, it is often the case that when individuals with OCD experience heightened stress levels, this can lead to an increase in the severity of OCD. It is important to seek help in its early stages to give yourself the best chance of tackling OCD. Signs that you should seek help from an OCD therapist are:

  • Experiencing distressing thoughts or images multiple times in a day
  • Finding it difficult to leave home for work, school or social events due to having to carry our compulsions
  • Feeling often anxious or worries about potential terrible events happening to you or your loved ones
  • You have stopped going to work, school or social events
  • You spend a very large amount of time with rituals before leaving home or going to sleep.

The above are only some of the signs of OCD, but they are enough to say that your obsessions-compulsions might be getting the better of you and your life. If you recognise yourself in them, ask for help and get OCD therapy in London today.

What are the Best Therapy Approaches for OCD?

Psychotherapy and counselling do work for OCD. Systematic reviews [1] provided a large amount of evidence that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the therapy of choice for OCD. CBT has been shown to be effective for many people suffering from OCD. In CBT for OCD, the first step is trying to make sense of your OCD and what is maintaining it. This involves exploring the links between your obsessions, feelings and compulsions.

For example:Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD therapy, CBT example

The key is how we interpret our thoughts (often intrusive thoughts)

Research shows that most people experience somewhat odd and often intrusive thoughts, however they do not all go on to develop OCD. The difference is that those who go on to develop OCD give meaning and significance to the odd thoughts. This gives the odd thoughts power which leads to anxiety and the urge to relieve this anxiety by carrying out a compulsion.

Not only that, seeing the initial odd thought(s) as threatening leads to more of these thoughts in the future. Whereas those who do not go onto develop OCD see the odd thought for what it is, just a thought. It is not interpreted as threatening, therefore passes more quickly and will pop up less frequently (if at all!) in a person’s mind. In CBT for OCD you will be helped to learn to challenge obsessional thoughts and to see them for what they are, just thoughts that do not need to be acted upon.

Compulsions keep the OCD going

Carrying out a compulsion relieves anxiety in the short term, however, it keeps it going in the long term. This is because it is not learnt that by not carrying out the compulsion the fears would not have come true anyway. In CBT for OCD you will begin to address this by gradually reducing your compulsions. This will likely be scary, however in CBT for OCD you can learn various tools to help you manage the discomfort this brings.

In therapy it may also be helpful to address underlying factors that are feeding into your OCD, such as low self-esteem, perfectionism as well as striving for control and certainty.

How Long Does Counselling and Therapy for OCD Last?

This can depend upon the severity of OCD. It is recommended that a minimum of ten sessions are required to see good improvements for people with mild OCD. For those with moderate to severe OCD, around twelve to twenty four sessions are usually a sufficient number of sessions required in order to see significant improvement. When meeting with your OCD therapist, following a thorough psychological assessment, you will be able to get a clearer idea of how many sessions will be needed for treatment.

What are the Benefits of Counselling and Therapy for OCD?

Our OCD therapists can help you to tackle your OCD to enable you to see the following improvements:

-Better understanding of OCD

-Reduction in obsessional thoughts

-Less distress caused by obsessional thoughts

-Better quality of life

-Reduction in compulsive behaviours

-Reduction in associated emotional difficulties e.g. depression

Managing Anger brings back balance

OCD Counselling, Therapy & CBT in Central London & Online

If you are looking for OCD therapy in Central London, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start dealing with your obsessions and compulsions, while understand the causes of your OCD. As a result, you’ll be enabled to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment  back into your life.

It’s not easy to recognise that you might have an OCD issue. Some of us feel afraid or embarrassed by the thoughts our minds produce, but remember that you are not choosing to experience this. If you’re experiencing OCD it is not your fault, and you should not deal with it alone.

Start Dealing with OCD in London & Online today

Get professional help and OCD Therapy in London & Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an OCD Therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

 

 

Further Helpful Resources For Managing Anger:

NHS Obsessions and Compulsions PDF

NHS OCD Treatment page

OCD Self-Help

Other issues we work with at Therapy Central

Learn more about how CBT works

 

References:

[1]Ponniah, K., Magiati, I., & Hollon, S. D. (2013). An update on the efficacy of psychological therapies in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults. Journal of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders2(2), 207–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocrd.2013.02.005

 

Authors:

Dr Raffaello Antonino, Counselling Psychologist

Dr Amy Smith, Counselling Psychologist

 

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