First, what is OCD? OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD is essentially a problem of anxiety. The person with OCD feels much anxiety which gives rise to anxious thoughts. It also consists of behaviours that serve as a temporary way to lessen the anxious thoughts and feelings.
A common example of OCD is fingernail biting. The person for whom this is a problem compulsively bites their nails, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Underlying the nail biting behaviour is a sense of anxiety or dread. The person bites their nails as a way to provide temporary relief from the anxiety. I use a three-pronged approach to OCD, using techniques taken from hypnosis.
First, I give and teach a relaxation form of hypnosis to my OCD clients. This means that I hypnotise the client to obtain a very deep form of relaxation. And I also teach the client to do it for themselves and give homework that they should practice this deep relaxation form of self-hypnosis at least once per day â€“ preferably twice a day. Deep relaxation serves to counteract the anxious feelings in the body. In other words, the deep relaxation is a better antidote to anxious feelings than the OCD behaviour.
Secondly, I teach the client a type of mindfulness I call hypnotic attention. As can be seen from reading Dealing With Anxiety, anxiety is basically a problem of having negative thoughts about the past or imagined future events in a way that makes it seem real to the body. So the body reacts with feeling fear. But it is not really fear because there is no real threat, just an imagined one. Hypnotic attention serves to help my clients see how they are creating the anxious feelings so they can stop thinking the thoughts. It helps them keep their minds on the present moment.
And finally, there is one particular thought that my OCD clients have that creates a lot of anxiety that I help them deal with directly. Most of the time, when there is anxiety accompanied by OCD type of behaviour, there is the thought, or some variation, that says, â€œI am not OK.â€
This thought then, in turn, creates, even more, anxiety, creating a vicious circle of more thoughts producing more anxiety. I do a lot of hypnotic work with clients showing them how to accept themselves totally and completely in the midst of feeling anxious. It is amazing how acceptance of self and the anxious feelings can provide a huge reduction in anxious feelings.
As can be seen from the above, my methods all serve to reduce and completely dissolve anxious feelings. When the anxious feelings are resolved, the need for the compulsive behaviour disappears and so does the behaviour.
I do not offer a quick one hypnosis session to resolve OCD. OCD is like a deeply rutted road in the brain. It is very easy to keep falling into the same rut, the same patterns of behaviour and feeling. My methods to resolve OCD, when practised consistently over time will retrain the neural pathways of the brain and eventually you will feel whole again.
A great book to read is â€œBrain Lock: Free Yourself From Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviourâ€ by Jeffrey Schwartz.