OCD is defined as a mental preoccupation with an unresolved issue, where the affected person feels the urge to engage in some type of physical or mental activity in order to alleviate the perceived threats of that preoccupation. The trouble is that the more engagement in the urge, the less satisfaction in having had satisfied that urge, therefore the more anxiety about it’s unresolved status, and more tendency to engage in the ritual. It is like a closed circuit, where the faster you run, the less you get to anywhere.
Often, patients with OCD describe their symptoms in either physical (behavioral) or mental ways. Examples of physical or behavioral OCD are: excessive hand washing, checking emails, checking locks, checking on the status of one’s health, etc. Mental symptoms of OCD are often in the forms of thoughts and images: such as ruminating on whether what they’ve said in a conversation has been offensive to others, or whether they have gone over a check list enough times in their mind, or going over the image of an accident over and over in the mind.
In the past, most mental health professionals were of the belief that OCD had to be treated with medications. However, a closer look at the history of successful treatments of OCD shows that medications have played no significant role in the successful treatment of OCD. However, behavioral and cognitive (thought related) practices that lead to breaking that closed circuitry in the mind have indeed lead to successful and lasting relief from OCD.
At the Feeling Good Therapy and Training Center of Fremont, psychologists are specifically trained in the most up to date and advanced techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of OCD. Advanced CBT or the T.E.A.M approach is introduced by the author of best seller’s self-help book, Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy, Dr. David Burns, professor emeritus at Stanford University. The TEAM model takes the symptoms of OCD and helps the affected person take a closer look at their fundamental beliefs about the subjects they feel threatened by. For example, the excessive handwashing is often influenced by the belief that germs on one’s hands will cause illness and even death. Once those deeply held beliefs are discovered within an empathic space between the psychologist and the patient, together they would review the pros and cons of getting rid of that belief. Sometimes, to the patient’s surprise, a dearly held belief causes the unwanted obsessive behavior or obsessive thought stay in place until such time that another acceptable belief has replaced the original one.
Therefore, treatment of OCD is done from the inside of the mind. The symptoms are not masked by medications or tolerated by just a reduction in frequency. They are fully terminated once the patient is helped from within their core beliefs.