In OCD therapy (usually Exposure and Response Prevention, or ERP), I tell clients simplistically there is one thing we are targeting: not compulsing. Of course it’s complex and challenging, but the treatment target itself (when it’s just OCD) is rather simple.
However, because OCD is one of the most disabling disorders on the face of this planet, it involves challenging layers. Expert clinicians can help, along with those in the support community (like OCD Gamechangers), to make the journey better. One shorthand reference I’ve developed in thousands of hours with clients who have OCD is the 3 D’s of progress in OCD recovery:
Be Realistic With Human Growth and Learning
Exposure therapy is based on theories of learning, conditioning, and/or acquisition of information (see a fuller description in my article here). Human learning is never total- nor can any one subject of complexity be mastered in one moment. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to magically scale a mountain in one leap.
Personal Questions for you:
- Are you expecting yourself to magically get to the other side of something?
- Do you expect this in other areas of life? Work? Sports? Performance? Relationships?
- Is this realistic?
- What is the result?
Whether you’re simply trying to grow or addressing a disorder, learning is a process. It takes time. If you are doing ERP therapy and the target is to not compulse, I believe there’s three realistic ways to do it:
Some things we are able to fully do at the moment (“Destroy“).
Some things we are able to partly do in the moment (“Diminish“).
Some things we are able to hold off in the moment (“Delay“).
Only 3 Roads To Get There
Let me know in the comments if I missed anything! I understand there are many aspects to treatment, and I’m not at all implying that this is all there is to it (medication is often part of the journey, as well as other therapeutic interventions, community, etc.). However, theoretically, in my mind, there’s 3 ways you can go about treatment mastery over your compulsions: fully, partially, or by delay. As long as you are getting rid of compulsions- and quick enough without adding new ones- these are all valid ways to do so.
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