Obsessions & Compulsions
Obsessions and Obsessive Thinking are generally linked with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is a diagnosis widely used within the mental health profession. Hypnotherapy is useful for people who ‘over-think’ situations and may not be suitable for the medically diagnosed problem.
Nice Clinical Guidance points directly to the use of CBT & other Psychotherapy Interventions for dealing with OCD.
You can read the NICE guidance here: NICE Clinical Guidance 31 – OCD
However, it is generally more helpful to separate compulsive behaviours from Obsessions as the way they affect people’s lives and the way in which they are experienced is very different.
In general terms a compulsive behaviour is one that is undertaken, often with little thought, on impulse or with a sense of having been ‘driven’ to it, and instant relief is felt – Smoking is a good example.
There may be some feelings of guilt or shame felt afterwards, but immediate gratification is felt at the time.
This “instant gratification” is the key to Compulsive behaviours.
However, with Obsessions & OCD, this sense of relief, this gratification, is often never achieved.
The sufferer is likely to focus excessively on the issue at hand, often becoming totally preoccupied by it and they can find themselves involved in repetitive cycles of behaviour which provide little or no relief, and very often these activities are carried out to ensure something else (often something bad) does not happen.
Form this point of view Obsessions are a form of “Avoidance Behaviour”.
Symptoms of Obsessions
Obsessions can create a wide range of symptoms and behaviours and almost invariably become more exaggerated rather than reduce over time.
- Being overly jealous or possessive over a partner
- Eating Disorders (e.g. avoiding certain foods, anorexia)
- Constant worry about something
- Sleeping problems (e.g. insomnia)
- Excessive exercise
- Continual negative thoughts
- Intrusive thoughts
- Constant counting
- Excessive tidiness
- Rituals (e.g. checking the door lock several hundred time just to be sure)
Video About Obsessions & OCD
Help for Obsessions
Obsessions and obsessive behaviours can range from simple everyday behaviours such as tidiness (e.g. placing all food tins in the cupboard with the label facing outwards) to counting numbers or doing sums in their head to the point that they can think of nothing else.
With all Obsessions, it is the degree to which the issue is preoccupying your time and/or limiting your life that is important.
For example, someone who worries about dirt or contamination may simply wash their hands carefully, maybe try and avoid using public toilets, or perhaps ensure they do not touch doors or handles in public toilets even if this means waiting a long time for someone else to open the door so they can nip through ‘untouched’.
However, place this same person under stress and they may begin to wash their hands obsessively and for some people this may become ritualistic to the point that their hands are never clean enough to leave their house.
Therapy for Obsessions
We offer CBT & Psychotherapy based solutions for Obsessions – choosing the right type of therapy for Obsessions probably has more to do with you and your personality type rather than which form of therapy is more effective, so if you are in any doubt you can always arrange to come along for one of our FREE initial assessments and we will advise you based on which therapy we think is most suited to YOU.