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How to identify and overcome OCD intrusive thoughts



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hi so I'm going to talk about OCD and

intrusive thoughts and the reason I'm

making this video is because recently I

have been working with a lot of clients

who are experiencing intrusive thoughts

that feel very real to them and they

really worry that these thoughts have

some sort of meaning or some sort of

power and the nature of these thoughts

are often about causing harm to

themselves or losing control in some way

and these thoughts can also be about

causing harm to another person as well

and so I've worked with a range of

clients recently and that inspired me to

talk about this topic to educate people

and to help them know what to do if

they've been having some intrusive OCD

style thoughts often people don't know

that this is an OCD thought they just

know that they feel very anxious and

they're often very worried that they may

take an action they're often not wanting

to say these words out loud in case that

it has some meaning or has some power

over the situation so and I had a person

recently that I was helping who was

pretty much on the verge of panic attack

and he gave me a call and he said I just

feel awful I feel something terrible's

gonna happen I've been having all these

thoughts I don't want to say them I'd

hate to say what it is but I'm just very

anxious so I probed it a little bit and

I realized that the thought that he was

having was that he was going to use

control and commit suicide I know for me

this was very different to a client who

has intent that they would commit

suicide it sounds completely different

and to me it's very easy to distinguish

one from the other when ice because

suicidal clients they're incredibly

hopeless and they believe that their

life would be better if they were not

around and sometimes they're so hopeless

that they may even be making a plan to

end their life with something they they

want to do essentially they might be

very scared of it but there's actually

some sort of ideation or intent there

and then what's completely different is

the present who's got OCD who's

terrified that they might lose control

and harm themselves in

way or commit suicide or harm another

person or whatever the intrusive thought

might be which can be lots of different

types of thought but often they are

centered around the same kind of themes

people have very similar type sorts when

it comes this kind of thing which tends

to be the worst possible thought for

that person is what the intrusion is

about so for example someone who's very

religious can have very blast

blasphemous thoughts someone who would

never want to harm themselves or harm

another person their thoughts might be

about nature someone who cares very much

about children may worry that they could

cause harm to a child again very

different from having the intent or

wanting to do whatever action and so

when this person called me and they said

that they were very worried they might

commit suicide I said well I'd love to

do some exposure work with you I I know

you're really anxious right now and

you're on the verge of having panic

attack but let's do something really

unusual let's try and make these

symptoms worse let's try and make the

situation worse to prove to you that

you're perfectly safe and nothing bad is

going to happen so I said to this person

is there a window near you I'd like you

to go to the window open it up and have

the thought I'm going to commit suicide

and I think he was absolutely terrified

here's anxiety I got him to race it it

was ten out of ten they even racing it

much higher than that he was absolutely

terrified but he had a lot of trust in

me and he really trusted that I knew

what I was doing and that I would guide

him in the right way and he stood by the

open window for some time having this

thought I'm going to commit suicide he

was terrified that he would somehow lose

control and that would happen because of

his OCD uhm but of course his body did

not move he had no intention whatsoever

of doing this he didn't want to do this

he was just scared that he might and

with time as he as he stayed there over

over a couple of minutes he realized

that actually there was no power to this

thought whatsoever

his anxiety levels shot right down and

he felt much better another example is a

very similar person I was helping who

was having

same thought I might home myself I might

youth control I might commit suicide and

it was incredibly anxious I said well

what would make that thought worse what

would be worst case scenario situation

could you hold a knife and he said well

yeah that would be terrifying that that

would really make the anxiety worse and

he was feeling very bad when he was

speaking to me which is very hard to

convince people to do exposure work when

they're feeling that anxious so really

the person has to have a lot of trust

when I'm working with them to even do it

because a lot of people just point-blank

refused but when people do have that

trust and they are brave enough to do

this exposure work I tend to get great

results with people so for this

particular client he held the knife and

he was holding in his anxiety love us

were very high and he was repeating the

words I'm going to commence suicide and

he was focusing on what that meant and

really doing some really great what I

would consider great exposure work and

quite quickly as anxiety was shooting

right down it was 10 out of 10 when we

started within just a matter of minutes

it was feeling very neutral the court

had lost the meaning and he realized he

was perfectly in control so he's really

challenging the OCD thought and then I

said well you're you see looks like

you're feeling more calm now can we up

the ante a bit can we do something a

little bit worse and he said well it's

working so far why not and I got him to

hold the knife to his wrist and and he

then repeated the process so it's good

to really reinforce the new belief for

someone because essentially what we're

doing is proving that they're not going

to lose control and that there's no

power to this OCD type of thought then

you want to make make the up the out a

little bit make them even more anxious

again and get them to do some more

exposure work and I try to when I work

with clients I try to go for the worst

possible case scenario first I think it

saves a lot of time you do need to have

a lot of really good rapport and really

good trust with people for them to agree

to actually do that because this is

terrifying for people and unusually

before I do this work I will give them

xiety management's trashes use so I'm

able to help them state remain calm and

cope with these high levels of anxiety

in this situation so this was just a

short video on how to tell the

difference between a an OCD thought and

actually something that's more serious

and more concerning so hopefully this

has helped you realize when you might be

experiencing some sort of OCT