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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


what is ocdOCD is not just about hand washing, despite the picture. It's defined as an anxiety disorder and around 2-3% of the population suffer from some kind of OCD behaviour. OCD is normally thought of as an adult condition, but it can affect children as well. So can hypnotherapy help?

What are Obsessions and Compulsions?

OCD has two components. Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, negative thoughts which intrude on your thinking. Compulsions are the urges to carry out specific acts or rituals in an attempt to quiet or remove those thoughts.

Obsessions are often around issues which genuinely concern safety or health. For example, most of us wash our hands after going to the toilet or before preparing food. Or we check that the door is locked before leaving for work.

But if you have OCD, the anxiety about germs or home invasion can become so overwhelming that you have to develop some kind of soothing behaviour to reduce it. The most common behaviours which develop in this way are cleaning, hand-washing and checking but counting, measuring, touching and other repetitive behaviours can also be a part of it. Most people with OCD realise that there isn't much logic to their behaviour, but feel too anxious to stop.

OCD and anxiety

The problem is that compulsive behaviour only offers a limited amount of relief from the huge amounts of anxiety and panic that the obsessive ideas have created. In time, the soothing behaviours get more extreme or have to be repeated more and more frequently.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can show itself in response to a large number of different anxieties. For example, feeling unsafe can result in repeated checking of electrical devices or locks, illness can lead to excessive hand washing or cleaning, and feeling out of control can bring about ritualistic behaviours, such as frequent touching or re-organising of objects.

Forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Arranger - seek out habits which give the illusion of order and balance.
  • Catastrophist - anticipate that disaster will occur if they do not complete their rituals.
  • Checker - compelled to check on sources that could pose possible actual physical harm. These people will probably repeatedly return to check the status of a stove, emersion heater, light switch or another home appliance.
  • Counter/Arranger - may be centred on perfect symmetry and stringent order.
  • Hoarder - concentrates on keeping all clothes, boxes together with other items. They have the fear that throwing away any belongings may result in some sort of calamity.


Famous people with OCD*
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Leonardo Di Caprio
  • Harrison Ford
  • David Beckham


Hypnotherapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Coping with the anxiety associated with the obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviours is a huge help in eliminating the compulsions and helping you to feel more in control.

Although statistically, CBT seems to be the usual way of helping people with OCD, it doesn’t work for everyone. If CBT has been tried and failed, or if for some reason you don’t feel it’s right for you, hypnotherapy is worth exploring. A responsible hypnotherapist will ask you to check that your OCD has been properly diagnosed and that your GP has no objection to you using hypnotherapy, before working with you.

Hypnotherapy can help you to achieve an inner calmness and promote relaxation, breaking the cycle of anxiety and panic. It can help you find coping strategies that allow you to feel safer without the compulsive behaviours, and it may also help you identify the root cause of the anxiety.

Please contact me if you would like to know more.


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Debbie's Blog

deb180.square2Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.

For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593. 


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Debbie Waller Hypnotherapy

The Loft Complementary Therapies
Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB
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Please note: information on this site is for your guidance only and does not take the place of advice from a medical professional.