ERP Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

These doubts and uncertainty loom over you all day, everyday.  And you start to imagine some extreme end-of-world scenarios.  That’s the thing – you know are these are ridiculous, but you can’t seem to stop yourself.  You’ve tried thinking positively, ignoring these thoughts, reading self-help books, yoga, meditation, and daily affirmations. And nada.  You only feel better after doing things like:

  • Checking the doorknob and stove for the 9th time
  • Reorganizing the books on the shelf by height and color
  • Washing and re-washing your hands in a specific routine
  • Re-reading that quarterly report, or
  • Re-writing your daily to-do list

You realize it’s irrational, but you have to do it anyway.  It’s the only way you feel reassured like you’re “right” again. Lately, though, these thoughts and actions have begun to interfere more in your life.  Friends and family are getting increasingly frustrated with you. At work, your boss has said you’re a bit too rigid and set in your ways.  Deep down inside, you know they’re right and you’re getting worried.

OCD is taking over.  

You feel overwhelmed and trapped by your own brain. You tried therapy before, but it didn’t really feel like it helped.  You’re not sure what else you can try to feel better.  Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may be the solution you’ve searched for.  ERP is a type of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) that the latest scientific research has found is effective for treating OCD, its subtypes, and other related disorders including:

  • Primarily Obsessional (aka Pure O) – intrusive and unwanted thoughts, emotions, or urges about harm to others or yourself
  • Health OCD – persistent concerns about having or contracting an illness and taking excessive preventative steps
  • Sexual Identity (H-OCD) – persistent concerns or doubts about sexual orientation in someone that is straight
  • Relational/Romantic (R-OCD) – persistent and intrusive worries or thoughts related to relationships, incest, and/or bestiality
  • “Hit and Run” OCD – repetitive obsessive thoughts about causing a serious car/driving accident
  • Pedophilia OCD (P-OCD) – excessive concerns about pedophilia, doing illegal things, etc.
  • Sensorimotor OCD – excessive focus on specific body parts and/or its processes such as swallowing, blinking, breathing, heart beat, etc.
  • Religious OCD (aka scrupulosity) – excessive concerns about violating religious beliefs/doctrine and engaging in compulsive religious acts to alleviate fears and thoughts
  • Tourettic OCD (T-OCD) – performance of compulsive behaviors until it feels “just right”
  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) – a way of being that highly values a strict adherence to order and control with little room for adaptability
  • Hoarding
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
  • Excoriation/dermatillomania (skin picking), trichotillomania (hair pulling), nail biting, and other body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB)

Our ERP sessions happen in and around the areas surrounding our Miami, FL office near Coral Gables. This treatment can help you:

  • Better manage anxiety

  • Learn to stop engaging in compulsive behaviors

  • Find healthier ways to respond to obsessive thoughts

  • Shift your perception of obsessive thoughts

  • Get back to enjoying your favorite activities

  • Regain your quality of life

You probably have more questions about therapy for OCD.

Here are the most common questions that people seeking treatment for OCD frequently ask us.

It’s pretty effective when you compare it to taking medications.  At this time, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the medications of choice for OCD.  Research shows that OCD symptoms decrease by 40-60% with medication alone.  However, these same studies indicate that counseling can decrease OCD symptoms by 60-80%.  So whether you want to avoid medications or want to combine your medication with therapy, we will be happy to help you figure out a course of action that fits best for you.

At Envision Wellness, our therapists use Cognitive Behavior therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to treat OCD.  These are the gold standard therapeutic approaches based on current scientific research.  We might also incorporate Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) and Mindfulness (MBCT) if it’s appropriate.  We also believe in a collaborative approach to treatment.  If you are already working with a psychiatrist, we will work closely with your doctor to make sure you get comprehensive care.  In addition, our psychologists stay on top of the latest news, attend and present at professional psychology conferences, and get training on new treatments.  That translates into you getting cutting-edge treatment backed by science.

Yes and Yes.  We know that OCD does not always show up exactly like it is described in the DSM-5, and that it varies from person to person.  People can demonstrate several variations such as hoarding, contamination, hair pulling (trichotillomania), skin picking (excoriation), body dysmorphia, and Pure O OCD.  While we are familiar with them, we do not use cookie-cutter treatment protocols because we know that one size does not fit all.  Your therapist will tailor your treatment to the symptoms of your subtype of OCD so that you’ll experience the relief you are looking for.

Absolutely.  We have gone to homes, business offices, supermarkets, restaurants, public parks, schools, zoos, etc.  We understand that therapy in an office setting may not translate well into everyday life, and that’s often the case when treating OCD.   Depending on your specific goals and what is clinically appropriate, our psychologists are able to provide therapy outside of the office.  Your therapist can discuss this more with you to give you a better sense of what therapy outside of the office is like if you decide to work with us.

Click below if you’re ready to learn more about how ERP therapy for OCD can help you lead a happier, more balanced life.

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