Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health issue that causes someone to have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. OCD can affect people of all ages and genders.

Typically, OCD has two parts. The first is an obsessive thought. This is an unwanted or unpleasant thought, or perhaps a mental image, that repeatedly occurs. It may feel uncomfortable and invoke feelings of anxiety.

The second part is a compulsive behaviour. This is a behaviour that someone feels they need to carry out to provide temporary relief from the feelings generated by the obsessive thought.

Examples of OCD

OCD can express itself in many ways, so the examples provided below are just a few of the most common ways that OCD can express itself. Everyone's experiences will be different, and you may not identify with the following scenarios.

Paul has a recurring thought that his house will burn down. This makes him feel uneasy, and so he has to check that he has not left any kitchen appliances on, and goes around the house checking each of the plug sockets. Before he goes out of the house, he has to take a picture of the cooker to prove to himself that it is turned off.

Jenny worries that she will be burgled and this invokes feelings of anxiety. When she goes out, she will often go back and check that the front door is locked correctly. Sometimes, she will go back several times. Even when out, she still spends time thinking about the door.

OCD sub-types

Pure O is a type of OCD where there are little or no obsessive behaviours. Instead of using visible behaviours, Pure O sufferers will often have mental rituals or processes that they have to go through to provide themselves with temporary relief from their feelings.

Hoarding is an inability to throw things away even though they are useless or worn out, and would be considered rubbish to a typical person. Typically someone will feel they need to save everything because they made need it later, or they feel an emotional attachment to their items. Although hoarding was traditionally classified under OCD, it is now considered a separate condition.

Why seek treatment for OCD?

OCD is a treatable condition.

Engaging in therapy can help you reduce the symptoms of OCD, helping you to get back control of your life. You will also explore the underlying issues that cause the problem, to prevent recurrence in the future.

How we treat OCD

You will be paired with a therapist experienced in treating OCD. We use an integrative approach, so your therapy will be tailored to you. In the first session, you'll spend some time getting to know your therapist so that they can provide you with the perfect programme.

Our integrative approach means that our therapists are trained in a range of different philosophies and techniques. Some clients respond better to a more talking-focused approach, while others find they are more suited to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) approaches. You will be able to explore this with your therapist.

We'll work at your pace, so your therapy can move forward as fast or as slow as you are comfortable with.

The things you will learn will stay with you for the rest of your life. So, even after your therapy has finished, you will continue to benefit from the sessions.