OCD creates an increase in anxiety following an intrusive thought, whilst a normal response to an anxiety provoking situation is for the anxiety to slowly reduce after the initial event. For someone with OCD the anxiety is maintained and often increases, usually because of their overestimation of the perceived level of threat.
CBT for OCD
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be the most effective treatment in successfully tackling Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The aim of this approach is to enable the person to become their own therapist and to provide them with the knowledge and tools to continue working towards complete recovery from OCD. It remains the treatment of choice for tackling OCD by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and specialist centres such as the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma (CADAT).
At Psychotherapy Kingston, I have found that In many cases, CBT alone is highly effective in treating OCD. Also I find that techniques from Mindfulness, ACT and Hypnotherapy can enhance the process (see Supporting Therapies).
The aim of CBT is not about learning not to have these thoughts in the first place because intrusive thoughts cannot be avoided. Instead it is about helping a person with OCD to identify and modify their thought patterns that cause the anxiety, distress and compulsive behaviours.
Therapy teaches the person with OCD that it’s not the thoughts themselves that are the problem; it’s what the person makes of those thoughts, and how they respond to them, that is the key to recovery from OCD.