How To Find An OCD Therapist Near Me
Updated March 30, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Robin Brock
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD is a mental health disorder that many people are only aware of, thanks to a few popular television shows and movies. These fiction works often depict obsessive-compulsive disorder as something harmless and as a device to make viewers laugh at the character that has it. But Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD is a condition that is far from a laughing matter. It is an anxiety disorder that can be debilitating for many who suffer from it. The treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder can take years to be successful for those with very severe symptoms. As with any mental health disorder, understanding the condition is the first step in finding relief for obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The next step is then finding OCD therapists/psychologists that can help you address your issues and lessen your symptoms.
What Is OCD?
According to the OCD Foundation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD is a cycle of obsessions or compulsions that interrupt a person’s normal thoughts or habits. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to eliminate the obsessions and/or decrease the distress they cause. While many people may experience mild instances of obsessive-compulsive symptoms during some point in their lives, this does not mean that they have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. To be classified as OCD, those with true OCD find the symptoms overwhelming their lives to the point that their normal routines or habits are affected.
Signs That You Have OCD
While many people connect obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD with germaphobia or excessive hand washing, it can, in fact, manifest itself into a myriad of different types of OCD symptoms. The main indicator of obsessive-compulsive disorder is that it is a thought or action that takes over a person’s life. Let’s learn a little bit more about what the OCD Foundation has to say about OCD and related disorders of this condition.
Despite the frequent use of the word ‘obsessed’ in popular culture today, the term's general definition is far different from what it is for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. People like to say that they are ‘obsessed with a new trend or song, but this is meant positively. For people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, their symptoms are far from positive. OCD symptoms include obsessive thoughts, images, or impulses that happen repeatedly, and people who suffer from them feel as though they cannot control them. These obsessions are unwanted, and people with an OCD disorder realize that they do not make any sense and do not want to have them or find them disturbing. They often cause intense, unsettling feelings such as disgust, doubt, fear, or a feeling that things must absolutely be done “just right” or something terrible will happen. These obsessions consume a significant portion of a person’s day and keep them from doing other activities that a person enjoys or must do, such as going to work or taking care of their children. The symptoms must be time-consuming and cause extreme anxiety to be classified as OCD rather than an obsessive personality trait.
Some common obsessive-compulsive obsessions include fear of contamination from germs, dirt, chemicals, or other substances; fear of losing control of themselves; fear of harming themselves or others; obsessions relating to orderliness, forgetfulness, or of losing something important; unwanted sexual thoughts, often violent or perverse in nature; excessive concern of right/wrong, morality, following religious tenets, or offending God; concern of contracting a severe disease; and superstitious ideas about numbers, colors, etc.
The other facet of obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD is compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that someone with OCD uses to counteract or reduce their obsessions. These compulsions only relieve OCD obsessions temporarily but are often the only way an OCD sufferer knows how to cope with their symptoms. Just as with obsessions, compulsions consume much of a person’s time and keep them from doing things they enjoy or are supposed to be doing. To classify as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the OCD Foundation says that compulsions must be something a person feels driven to do but would instead not participate in. With obsessive-compulsive symptoms, these actions are often ways that sufferers attempt to lessen or eliminate their obsessions, if even for a short period of time.
Some of the common types of compulsions that are included in the disorder of OCD are: having to wash or clean things excessively or in a certain way; “checking,” such as checking that you did not harm anyone or yourself, that you did not make a mistake, or that nothing bad has happened; repeating something over and over again, such as a word or action, or completing an action a certain number of times; mentally reviewing something with the belief that it will prevent an unwanted event; counting while doing a task to end on a “good” number; rearranging things until they are “right”; and avoiding certain situations that might trigger obsessions.
How Is OCD Treated?
While the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder was thought impossible in the past, new advances in the last few decades have made a marked improvement in helping people with this disorder. There are now multiple types of therapy available for the treatment of an obsessive-compulsive disorder that can help significantly lessen, and in some cases even eliminate, the symptoms of OCD. OCD counselors provide a supportive environment for sufferers to determine how severe their symptoms are and develop a treatment for OCD obsessions and compulsions. OCD treatment can involve a few different types of OCD therapy at an office or medical center, such as:
- Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy is founded on the belief that our thoughts influence our feelings and that our feelings, in turn, influence the ways that we interpret situations. Cognitive therapy helps OCD therapists address the fact that many of our emotions result from how we think and that a mental health issue may distort these thoughts. For those with obsessive-compulsive impulses, their uncontrollable thoughts most certainly affect their feelings negatively and affect how they can process certain situations, especially their triggers. With therapists or psychologists who specialize in cognitive therapy, people with this disorder can learn how to manage their OCD and related symptoms. Cognitive therapy allows OCD therapists to help those with obsessive-compulsive disorder learn to distinguish between their thoughts and feelings, be aware of the ways their thoughts can have a detrimental influence on their feelings, evaluate if these trigger thoughts are biased and develop skills aimed at interrupting and correcting these thoughts.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBT combines certain cognitive therapy aspects with other tactics aimed at helping the behavioral aspects of obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that has been shown to make a big difference for most people suffering from an anxiety disorder, such as those with obsessive-compulsive issues. Many studies have shown cognitive-behavioral therapy to be sometimes even more effective than other forms of non-CBT behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy works on the belief that certain psychological problems are the result of incorrect or unhelpful patterns of thinking. CBT therapy also believes that these problems are at least partly due to unhelpful behaviors. Lastly, cognitive behavioral therapy CBT believes that people suffering from these unhelpful thoughts and behaviors can be unlearned with coping mechanisms. These CBT therapy coping mechanisms help people relieve their obsessive-compulsive behaviors to live more fulfilling lives.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT treatment allows OCD therapists to replace negative thought patterns to reduce or eliminate unwanted compulsions. CBT therapy helps relieve OCD and related obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT treatment involves changing thinking patterns through talk therapy with a licensed mental health professional. Behavioral therapy CBT first works to help OCD sufferers recognize the distortions in their thinking resulting from their OCD symptoms and then realistically reevaluate them. Next, CBT teaches people problem-solving skills to cope with situations that trigger OCD symptoms. These skills often involve learning to face your fears, using role-playing to help prepare for exposure to triggers, and relaxation techniques to mitigate negative feelings or actions. Exposure therapy is another option that OCD therapists might use in cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions to try to desensitize a person suffering from OCD to their triggers.
OCD counseling can also involve OCD group therapy, which can help by providing sufferers with a support system of people and an OCD therapist who understands their problems because they have the same issues to overcome. Other treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD can include:
- Family Therapy
Family therapy might be an option to consider if you or another family member is suffering from OCD. A family therapist can help address issues within the family unit that are occurring due to having to deal with the stress of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and help family members find coping mechanisms.
- Couples Therapy
If you are in a relationship and worry that your OCD symptoms affect its stability or how your partner interacts with or feels about you, you should consider seeing a couples therapist.
- Sex Therapy
For people whose OCD symptoms center on sexual themes, a sex therapist can help you find ways to mitigate your negative impulses and still have a fulfilling sex life with your partner.
- Anger Management
If your OCD symptoms lead to angry outbursts that you are having trouble controlling, anger management is an option for you to learn ways to help control your anger. In cases where domestic violence has been an issue, anger management is an especially important facet to learning how to deal with your OCD in a positive, lasting way.
How To Find An OCD Therapist Near You
If you are struggling with OCD symptoms, finding the right therapist can seem like an overwhelming task. To find a local therapist specializing in cognitive therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, look at listings online for OCD therapists at local medical centers. Try to find a local therapist specializing in OCD treatment specifically, as they will be specially trained in the best ways to deal with your issues. An OCD therapist will have better avenues of treatment and a greater understanding of the issues you may be dealing with.
If you are trying to work through an OCD-related mental health issue and can’t seem to find a therapist near you, consider taking advantage of our online therapy options here at ReGain. At ReGain, we offer convenient online therapy sessions that can be done from your computer, tablet, or phone, whenever it best suits your schedule. Our trained and licensed therapists are here to help you work through whatever concerns you may be experiencing.
Having a disorder, OCD, or any other does not make you a broken or unlovable person. Finding the right therapist can mean finally having the tools you need to help overcome your OCD symptoms and live a less stressful life free from the fear of your triggers.
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