Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
You would normally hear or read about obsessive behaviours and disorders being linked with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is a diagnosis widely used within the mental health profession.
However, in the IAEBP, we have found it more helpful to separate compulsive behaviours from obsessive behaviours as their impact upon people’s lives and the way in which they are experienced is very different.
As a rule of thumb, 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.
There may be some feelings of guilt or shame felt afterwards, but immediate gratification is felt at the time. (For more info on compulsive behaviours and disorders click here.)
For obsessive thoughts and behaviours, this sense of relief is often never achieved.
The person is likely to focus excessively on the issue at hand, often becoming totally preoccupied by it; they can find themselves involved in repetitive cycles of behaviour which provide little or no relief, and sometimes activities are carried out to ensure something else (often something bad) does not happen.
The types of Obsessive Thoughts, Behaviours and Disorders
Obsessive thoughts and 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 obsessional thoughts and behaviours, 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.
The following list is not exhaustive, but covers the more common obsessive thoughts and behaviours that may be successfully treated with Cognitive Processing and Integration Therapy:
▪ Being overly jealous or possessive over a partner
▪ Eating issues (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. ‘if you don’t walk on the cracks in the pavement, nothing bad will happen’, if you bump one side of your body you have to match it in the other to ‘even yourself up’, always checking locks a certain number of times)
Please do not be put off if your particular issue has not been identified in the list above: obsessive thoughts, behaviours and disorders are so varied and often specific to the individual that it would be impossible to list them all here.
What is important to realise is that it is the underling reasons for the behaviour that is significant and it is this that is treated with hypnotherapy, rather than the precise behaviours themselves.
If you have any doubts, please contact us at our practice for a discussion.
Contact JTR Hypnotherapy
If you’d like to arrange for an initial consultation at my clinic, or if you have any queries that you’d like me to answer, then you can e-mail me, or if you’d prefer, you can fill out my online-enquiry form.