Are obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours interfering with your daily life? Therapy may be able to help

Are obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors interfering with your daily life

By Nazir Hussain, Social Worker, MSW, RSW PhD 

It’s normal, on occasion, to go back and double-check that the door is locked, worry about germs, or have occasional unpleasant reoccurring thoughts. However, if you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours can become so consuming that they interfere with your daily life. OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts, and ritualized repetitive behaviours you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational—but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free. 

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove 21 times to make sure it’s really turned off or wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw for fear of germs. While you don’t derive any sense of pleasure from performing these repetitive behaviors, they may offer some passing relief for the anxiety generated by the obsessive thoughts. It can seem like there’s no escaping your obsessions and compulsions. 

Anxiety counselling for OCD has helped many people regain control 

Over my 40 years of practice experience, I have helped many individuals struggling with persistent symptoms of OCD. This includes a specific client that would wash their body for 7-8 hours on a daily basis and had a water bill upwards of $800 a month. After our therapeutic work together, they reduced their daily washing to 30-45 minutes and the water bill dropped to $12O monthly. They were very happy with the results. 

Another one of my clients had a significant fear of contamination and had stopped leaving their house altogether, as a result. This person would not touch the doors, walls, doorknobs, and wouldn’t even sit on the sofa. After 9 sessions of anxiety counselling with me, they started going out and started a job as a bus driver. They were able to regain control over their life. 

These are some examples of clients that I have worked with as a therapist in Ottawa, who have had a significant improvement in their quality of life after working with me. 

My work is informed by evidence-based approaches for the treatment of OCD, and is also trauma-informed, culturally inclusive, and strengths based. In addition to my clinical knowledge, I have extensively read and researched best therapeutic strategies for treating OCD. I am well-versed in the research work of Eda Foe, Steven Hayes, Wilson Reid, Jeffrey Schwartz and Rebecca Goldberg. I use these research-based interventions and customize them to best support you in your journey towards healing. 

If you feel you may suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, let me help you to get control of your life back. Contact Family-Therapy to make an appointment.