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Treating OCD with hypnotherapy

“Have I left the front door open?”

“I must touch that or something will go wrong”

“There might be germs in my food”

“The house is on fire”

“I keep on checking things I have written”

If you are someone with OCD the thoughts, urges and images above may feel familiar.

Surprising though as it may seem, we all have thoughts such as these. For most people, these intrusive thoughts come fleeting in and out of our mind, not causing too much distress. However, If they intrude so often and so strongly that they severely interfere with what you want to do, then you can be suffering from OCD.

We often misuse the term ‘obsessive’, describing people with strong interests or preferences. But strongly obsessive behaviour is driven by personally unpleasant ideas linked to a very real feeling of anxiety. People with OCD feel like they have no choice about what is happening to them.

A bird sitting on a rock

Types of OCD

Contamination OCD (germs)

Checking OCD

Sickness OCD

Contamination of thoughts OCD

Compulsion rituals OCD

Perfection OCD

Harm OCD

Hoarding OCD

The brain and OCD

If there is a danger, or perceived danger, in front of us, then our fight or flight kicks in. The role of the primitive brain is to keep us safe and this part of our brain isn’t rational or optimistic like our intellectual mind. This part of the brain will:

  • Deliberately make you focus on how awful the outcome could be

  • Be super obsessional – making you think about it over and over and over and over again

Often the person struggling with OCD is aware that their thoughts, actions and compulsions are irrational, but they are driven by doubt and fear of the outcome and are unable to avoid the compulsion due to the level of anxiety which is then created. The person feels, often subconsciously, that by doing these they are keeping danger away. It’s not uncommon for the person to start to believe that not doing the ritual will result in something bad happening to them or a loved one.

How would you like your life to be without this problem?

How would it feel to let go of control?

To be free to do the things you want to do.

To feel objective again and trust things.

Breaking free from OCD is the ability to see thoughts as just thoughts, not dangers or perceived dangers.

Treating OCD with hypnotherapy

As OCD is an anxiety disorder, hypnotherapy is very effective at supporting clients to tackle their anxiety and tackle their OCD..

Clients are taught in sessions about how the primitive mind creates anxious thoughts and a feeling of danger to keep you safe.

Hypnotherapy supports clients to set goals for how they want their lives to be and then to identify alternatives thoughts and behaviours, in time letting go of the unhelpful old ones.

An important part of sessions is to enable clients to recognise that the danger has already happened - OCD is disrupting your life - and to find the confidence to stand up to their primitive mind by starting to take risks if a safe environment to make change. When you start doing things differently, you will realise that OCD has been lying to you.

The hypnosis part of hypnotherapy encourages relaxation and speaks to you on a subconscious level to change your thought patterns.

It’s important to recognise that the client will need to do the hard work - the therapist is like your coach or trainer.


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