Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Counseling

The What the Why and the How?

Very simply, OCD is a disorder that can affect anyone and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are the behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and or decrease his or her distress. Everyone has experienced obsessive thoughts and behaviors, but most of us can let them go easier, and they don’t impact our lives. A sample of some common obsessions as follows: fear of contamination (germs, diseases, dirt, etc.), losing control (acting impulsively, harm to others, blurting things out, horrific images), harm (causing a fire, running over someone, causing an accident), perfectionism (exactness, losing things, forgetting important details, needing to remember everything.

Common compulsive behaviors are as follows: Washing and cleaning (handwashing, showering, bathing, routine, grooming, cleaning of household), Checking (doors are locked, windows, homework, to see if something terrible happened, checking texts, reassurance from others), repeating (rereading, rewriting, tapping, in and out of doors, stairs, body movements, touching things, doing tasks in sets of three, or even/odd.

Once again, the above examples are common, but most clients have unique OCD behaviors that can be very disturbing and embarrassing to discuss and admit. Once you have a better understanding of what thoughts or behaviors are OCD, it often gives one a sense of relief.

Why people suffer from OCD is not entirely understood at this time but most research points to a problem in communication between the front of our brains and deeper structures in the brain. These areas use transmitters or messengers called serotonin. OCD does also run in the family, so genetics often play a role in whether one suffers from this disorder.

How is OCD treated are what are the steps in getting treated properly? The good news is that OCD is a disorder that has extensive research in treatment protocols, and large advances have taken place in the last 30 years. A combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure-response therapy and medications have yielded extremely effective results. Progress is often seen quite quickly. Medications are not always needed in certain cases and clients are able to learn a whole host of skills and methods to take control of this disorder. A very common technique is exposure response therapy, where the client works in tandem with the therapist to create exercises to confront these individual obsessive thoughts and behaviors and systematically eliminate them. A simple assessment is often given at the beginning of treatment to determine the severity and type of OCD a client is experiencing. In Short, OCD is very treatable.

Benefits to Counseling for OCD:

You will be asked to do homework in both CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and ERT (exposure-response therapy).  If you are highly motivated and willing to put in the effort, research shows that the people who have good results with psychotherapy. {1.} This means you will become unstuck from the symptoms of OCD.  After treatment (and during it) you will gain an understanding of the symptoms and how OCD traps you and most importantly, how to break free from that trap.  You will feel more in control of your life and be able to fully enjoy your life.

  1. Ryan RM, Lynch MF, et al. Motivation and Autonomy in Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Behavior Change: A Look at Theory and PracticeThe Counseling Psychologist. 2011;39(2):193–260. doi:10.1177/0011000009359313

Immediate Openings

Contact Julie

If you would like to make an appointment with me feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., text or call me. Or you can set up an assessment or 15-minute free consultation.

Julie Abdullah, M.S. LPC-IT she/her

Julie Abdullah, M.S. LPC-IT she/her

(414) 399-0860

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Contact Brandon

If you would like to make an appointment with me feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., text or call me. Or you can set up an assessment or 15-minute free consultation.

Brandon Wells, MS, LPC

Brandon Wells, MS, LPC

(414) 810-9012

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