Covid-19 UPDATE Currently offering TELETHERAPY. Accepting new clients.
Is there a fear or worry that you obsess over so much that it consumes your life? Do you suffer from intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, or perfectionist tendencies? Perhaps it feels like OCD is controlling every little move you make. Maybe you feel like you’re living according to a rigid set of rules OCD has created, and you can’t disregard them no matter how hard you try. You may continually engage in habits you don’t like—such as compulsively washing your hands or ruminating on violent or disturbing thoughts—but you don’t know how to stop. Perhaps you worry that these unwanted thoughts may reveal an underlying terrible truth about yourself.
When you’re living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you may recognize how restricted your life has become. Your anxieties may prevent you from forming healthy social connections. Deep down, you probably feel alienated from people who don’t share the same worries as you, as if they’ve found a way to live their lives disconnected from fear. As a result, you may feel like there’s something wrong with you or you’re the only one who sees life the way you do.
Because OCD is characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive tendencies, it’s easy to feel like you’re trapped in a life of limitations. The good news is there’s a way out. By carefully re-training your brain to respond to stressors in a healthy, systematic way, you can make small, gradual improvements that lead to lasting change in your life.
Everyone experiences anxiety and a need to control or avoid stressful situations. In fact, healthy levels of anxiety often serve to ensure safety and security. However, the problem arises when controlling or avoidance behaviors become the norm instead of the exception. If a fear or worry of yours is impacting every decision you make, it may be a sign you have OCD.
Despite OCD’s commonness, few people truly understand it. Many people think of OCD as a kind of minor quirk or pet peeve, as in, “I’m so OCD about cleanness,” or, “I’m so OCD about turning all the lights off when I leave the room.” While these are often aspects of severe OCD, the condition itself is far more profound than quirks and pet peeves. It’s an anxiety that pervades every aspect of a person’s life, to the point that it becomes habituated and seemingly automatic. Life begins to feel restricted, as opportunities for growth are passed up due to fear.
Unfortunately, our comfort-obsessed society does little to abate the effects of OCD. So much in our day-to-day life—from high-speed internet to self-driving cars—is designed to make life easy. Over time, this leads to a subconscious belief that life is supposed to be easy. It’s not. Life is suffering, as the Buddhists say. When we accept this simple yet profound truth, we can adapt to life’s challenges with greater peace of mind. Without this expectation of suffering, we can suffer even more.
Merely accepting that life is hard isn’t enough, though. OCD often works in mysterious ways, producing anxieties that are meant to protect you from obsessive and unwanted thoughts. On your own, it’s hard to recognize these anxieties as detrimental. That’s why it’s important to proactively seek treatment. By gaining insight into how OCD works, you can gain control of your symptoms so that they no longer control your daily life.
As humans, our survival instinct has hardwired us to avoid stress. Society constantly tells us to compartmentalize the stressful or worrisome things or people in our lives, but I believe this is a shortsighted mentality. The good comes with the bad. We can’t always separate the two in whatever way is most convenient to us. In our sessions, you will learn to address your anxieties in a controlled, systematic manner that allows you to face your fears with tolerance and support. This way, you won’t be avoiding your stressors, but you won’t be completely overwhelmed by them, either. You will learn that the negative expectations created by fear don’t always match reality.
In our first session, we will assess the problems that brought you into treatment and seek to uncover the factors that have contributed to your OCD. We will then collaboratively create a treatment plan that corresponds directly to your goals. The intake process, beyond addressing symptoms, is very much about getting to know you. Therapy is a two-way street, however—it’s only fair that you get to know me, too. My hope is that we will grow together and as we uncover new perspectives and fresh insights into life’s challenges.
Although I want to know about your history of OCD, we will not dwell on the past. Figuring out why things are the way they are does not always solve them. My approach is concerned with where you are right now, where you want to go, and how you’ll get there. To that end, there are a variety of practical calming strategies I use for attaining peace in the here and now. As a former yoga teacher, my approach is as concerned with the body as it is with the mind. Since anxiety often impacts both the body and mind, it’s important to treat the whole person in OCD counseling. In our work together, we will address both the emotional and physical aspects of your being.
Central to my practice is Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. At its core, ERP seeks to address your anxiety in a controlled, systematic manner. This approach can help you overcome your fears by gradually exposing you to them in ways that are safe and manageable. By allowing yourself to experience the things you have been avoiding, you will learn to tolerate and manage your emotions in a way you never knew you could. This work can also help foster a greater willingness to resist and reduce unhelpful or compulsive behaviors. The result is a picture of yourself and your daily life that is free of rigidity and restriction, allowing for new perspectives and new experiences.
As ERP falls under the umbrella of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we will also focus on cognitive techniques that challenge negative thought patterns and reduce the tendency toward overthinking in general. In this way, you will see that my goal isn’t merely to help you cope with OCD, but to help you thrive. I want to help you reach new horizons and experience a more enriching, expansive life. By working together, I am confident that we can retrain your brain to mitigate its stressors and keep OCD from controlling your life.
When you’re in the thick of your struggles, it’s not uncommon to feel a little hopeless. I hear you. I’ve been working with OCD clients since 2011, and I’ve been able to help a lot of people who never thought they’d find relief. If you can commit to small, consistent changes, we can set the groundwork for massive improvements in your life.
If you’ve made adjustments and have been able to tolerate the discomforts of challenging OCD, that is fantastic! Even so, I’d still encourage you to pursue counseling. Your symptoms aren’t likely to resolve completely without treatment. Going to OCD therapy is as much a proactive measure against future struggles as it is a self-care measure against stressors in the present.
Let’s face it: most of us are pressed for time. If you think about it, however, OCD has likely taken away more time in your life than our work together will. Just as you make time for the doctor or the dentist, I’d encourage you to make time for an OCD therapist. Considering the goal here is taking your life back from OCD, I can assure you this will be time well-spent.
If you’re tired of OCD behaviors interfering with your ability to lead a normal life, I’d be honored to help you get back on track. To get started, you can call me at 954-812-9007 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can also email me or fill out the contact form.
At the moment, because of COVID-19, all my sessions are via telehealth.