Obsessions, Compulsions & OCD

What are obsessions & compulsions?

ocd @ auckland therapy : counselling and psychotherapyObsessions and compulsions are often a sign of underlying stress and anxiety. Many people will develop some obsessive or compulsive symptoms when life isn't going so well (tidying, ordering, checking, cleaning, worrying, etc.). These symptoms are the body's way of relieving tension and the mind's way of gaining a sense of control.

Such symptoms can be a useful warning signal that life is out of balance and needs a bit of attention. These will normally respond well to general counselling or psychotherapy that address the underlying stress and anxiety. Often what is most useful is some help to reflect on where you have come from and where you are heading as well as how best to balance the many demands that life makes on us with our needs, hopes and fears.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

For some others, their symptoms seriously interfere with their ability to function so may be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD an anxiety disorder which is thought to occur in approximately 2-3% of the general population. People suffering from OCD experience one or both of the following:

  • Obsessive, recurring, persistent thoughts, images or impulses that cause marked anxiety or distress
  • Behaviours or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform repeatedly to alleviate anxiety caused by obsessions

Common examples of obsessions are excessive worrying about causing harm to others physically or sexually, fears about security, hygiene, dreaded events occurring (i.e. house fires, car accidents), blasphemy, or sexual orientation. Common compulsions include checking behaviours, hoarding, hand washing, cleaning or tidying rituals, repetitively asking for reassurance, tapping objects, blinking rituals, excessive showering or teeth brushing, ordering, counting, praying, or repeating words. If sufferers have hygiene fears they may go to extraordinary lengths to avoid touching items they view as dirty or contaminated.

Most people who afflicted with OCD are aware that their symptomatic thoughts and behaviours are 'beyond the norm' and get frustrated with their inability to control them. They may also suffer from a general low mood. The causes of OCD are not definitive but  personalities that like order and tidiness and keep their emotions well under control are more vulnerable to developing the illness.

Find a therapist

Obsessive & Compulsive Symptoms

All of our team are experienced in working with obsessive & compulsive symptoms as part of broader stress, anxiety or other life issues. See a map of Therapist Locations or find Auckland Therapist by suburb or learn more about the Counselling Services we offer.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Blair Schulze (Grey Lynn) specialises in working with OCD.

For severe cases (which may be OCD Disorder) it is important to consult a professional experienced with OCD. Since OCD is often difficult to treat Blair only uses clinically proven treatments such as CBT (using exposure/response prevention), the pioneering mindfulness therapy of Dr Schwartz and the latest therapies developed by the OCD clinic in Los Angeles.

Children & teens

OCD symptoms can start quite early in childhood and become pronounced in teenage years. Again it is most like associated with anxiety from stresses at home or at school such as bullying or family disruptions or a sign of more serious concerns such as abuse. It can also be a sign of ASD (see below). We have an excellent, Child, adolescent & family team who can work with you to figure out what is going on and find a way forward for you and your child.

OCD with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

ASD spectrum disorders (Asperger's & Autism) underlies OCD in some cases. Colleen Emmens (Mt Eden) has specialist knowledge and experience in working with ASD including co-occurring OCD. She works with children, teens, adults & couples to address the OCD in the context of the autism or Asperger's.