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Obsessive Compulsive Behaviours

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by recurring intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions). People with OCD often feel compelled to perform these rituals or behaviours in order to alleviate anxiety or prevent a feared outcome.

My preference is to refer to this as OCR or Obsessive Compulsive Response. The thoughts and behaviours are symptoms of something happening which felt like a threat. The threat is a subjective experience, that is to say, what one person finds threatening another may not. It makes little difference if the threat is real or imagined, the brain cannot tell the difference. The resulting obsessive thoughts and behaviours are the mind and body’s way of attempting to make sense of the threatening situation and to self-soothe in order to feel safe and in control at a time when they actually feel very unsafe and out of control.

Obsessions are unwanted and distressing thoughts, images, or urges that repeatedly enter a person’s mind. These obsessions can be related to a wide range of themes, such as contamination, symmetry, orderliness, or harm. Common obsessions include fears of germs, doubts about safety, a need for things to be “just right,” or intrusive thoughts of violence or sexual content.

Compulsions, on the other hand, are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that individuals with OCD feel driven to perform in response to their obsessions. These behaviours are often aimed at reducing anxiety or preventing a feared event from occurring. Common compulsions include excessive handwashing or cleaning, checking and rechecking locks or appliances, arranging objects in a specific order, or repeating certain words or phrases.

OCR can significantly interfere with daily life and cause distress, as individuals may spend a significant amount of time and energy engaging in their obsessions and compulsions. They may also experience difficulty in relationships, work, and social activities due to the time-consuming nature of their rituals.

It’s important to note that OCR is a fear response because of something that happened to you. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. With patience, understanding, professional support and a little determination OCR can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.

As with all emotional challenges, it’s always best to seek help sooner rather than later.


Therapy, also known as counseling or psychotherapy, is a professional relationship between a trained therapist and a client. Its goal is to help individuals overcome emotional or psychological difficulties, make positive changes in their lives.

Therapy can be beneficial for various reasons, including managing mental health issues (like depression or anxiety), coping with life changes, improving relationships, and personal growth.

Therapy sessions typically involve talking to the therapist about your concerns, feelings, and thoughts. The therapist may ask questions, provide insights, and suggest strategies for addressing your issues.

The duration of therapy varies depending on individual needs and goals. Some people benefit from short-term therapy, while others may engage in therapy for several months or even years.

Yes, therapy is generally confidential. Therapists are bound by ethical guidelines and legal obligations to keep the information shared during sessions private. However, there are some exceptions, such as if a client poses a risk to themselves or others.

Yes, therapy can be beneficial for personal growth, self-improvement, and addressing everyday life challenges, even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition.

Therapy is available for individuals, couples, and families. Couples therapy and family therapy can help address relationship issues, communication problems, and family dynamics.

Yes, therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments, including medication. This is known as a holistic or integrative approach to mental health care.

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