Serving the community since 1999

Specializing in OCD and related conditions

Three Locations in Southern California:

Los Angeles • Woodland Hills
Newport Beach

Mindfulness for OCD and Anxiety


Choosing a Different Route on the Anxiety Highway

Mindfulness for OCD and Anxiety
Mindfulness can greatly enhance Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of OCD and Anxiety.

“Mindfulness” seems to be everywhere these days. In the culture at large, mindfulness is becoming a common practice for many as a means to finding basic peace of mind. And in the field of mental health, mindfulness is quickly coming to be seen as a technique that can help relieve symptoms of OCD, anxiety, and other psychological conditions.

After reading the above paragraph, you may be thinking, “Sign me up!” After all, we live in an era of instant gratification, and most of us usually want a quick fix to our problems. But mindfulness is not something one masters overnight. It is a journey that requires effort, commitment, and dedication. While mindfulness may provide relatively rapid relief to one’s distress in certain situations, it is perhaps better conceptualized as a long-term shift in perspective that allows us to better manage the complexity of human psychological experience. Like learning a new language, mindfulness takes time and patience to master, and ongoing effort to remain fluent.

So what exactly is mindfulness, and how does it apply to OCD and anxiety? A simple definition of mindfulness is that it is the practiced skill of non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of our present-moment experience, including all of our unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. Mindfulness teaches us to accept all of our unwanted internal experiences as a part of life, regardless of whether they are “good” or “bad”. When treating OCD and related anxiety disorders, mindfulness is a tool that can supplement and enhance Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is the gold standard for managing these conditions.

Mindfulness originated in ancient eastern philosophy, and is based on the premise that our attachment to feeling good and our aversion to feeling bad are the cause of much of our suffering. Much of the time, when things are difficult, we take up compulsive or avoidant behaviors in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. I often joke with clients about the fact that we never find ourselves running out of our bedroom with our arms flailing above our heads screaming in fear, “Oh my, I am so happy! Why am I so happy? What if I am happy forever?  What should I do?”  We only do this when what we are experiencing something we perceive as being “bad” or “wrong” or “unwanted”.

When discussing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety with clients, I often suggest that we conceptualize life as a metaphorical drive in the wilderness. Imagine that you are driving a convertible car along a beautiful country road. The roof is down and you are enjoying your surroundings. All of a sudden, a wave of anxiety comes over you. You are hit with all sorts of wild thoughts and begin experiencing uncomfortable feelings that seem to come out of nowhere. You quickly begin to feel so overwhelmed that you pull over. After sitting on the side of the road for awhile, you realize that it all feels too scary to keep going. After thinking it through to a point of exhaustion, you make yourself begin driving.

Out of desperation, you quickly put the roof up and roll the windows up as well. You promise yourself that you won’t look out the windows just in case you might see something that will scare you again. You fix your eyes on the road and won’t let yourself even dare to look out the windows. If the anxiety gets bad enough, you may even shut your eyes tight and try to make your way home without looking. Or you may call your family members or friends and make them reassure you that everything will be OK. You may find yourself saying over and over again, “Do not think about anything that makes me anxious right now!” or “Just think good thoughts!” When you return home, you may even vow to never go on that road again.  And if you must drive that road again, you may ask someone to come with you in order to ensure that nothing goes wrong throughout the entire drive.

Does any of this ring true for you? Do you find yourself experiencing any of these common reactions to anxiety.  When we experience the discomfort of anxiety, we often move directly into reaction mode in an effort to control our feelings. Or, we try to escape them at all costs. Understanding our anxiety can be very difficult when it hits so hard and so fast. Whether our anxiety is completely irrational (common in OCD and other anxiety disorders) or realistic (financial stress at home, relationship issues etc.), we can benefit if we stop to look at our reaction and see if it justifies the amount of energy we are giving it.

Below, I am going to walk you through a few easy steps that can help you be more mindful when faced with fear. These simple steps can also be helpful when dealing with strong addictive urges, depression, and even pain. Using mindfulness, you can learn to view your unwanted thoughts and feelings in a more peaceful and non-reactive way, and strengthen your ability to sit with your discomfort. Please note, this doesn’t mean that we are going to promote struggling or pain. It simply means we are going to focus on learning to better accept unwanted thoughts and feelings, and on responding to them with fewer counter-productive behaviors.

Step One: Become Aware of Your Feelings

When we are anxious, we often react to our thoughts and feelings before we even know they are there. Often, our clients report that they are performing compulsive behaviors before they even know that they are anxious. Others report that while they may notice their feelings when they occur, they then focus all of their energy on trying to get away from them as fast as possible. Step one is to slow down and notice what you are feeling. Are Mindfulness Workbook for OCDyou anxious? Irritable? Sad? Annoyed? Embarrassed? Where do you feel it? Is it in your chest? Shoulders? Stomach? Is it racing in your mind or is it a sensation of heaviness in your entire body? Don’t run from it.  Notice it. Don’t immediately react. Inquire first!

Step Two: Identify Your Feelings

Once we notice an unwanted feeling, we can choose to label it as “just a feeling”, and we can then begin to understand how our minds send us into reaction instead of acceptance. When we identify what is really going on (discomfort), and not what our anxiety tells us is going on (unbearable catastrophe), then we can begin to work with it instead of against it. Consider that while our unwanted thoughts and feelings may “feel” real, they may not be accurate or even remotely realistic. It is often helpful to identify our thoughts and feelings as just thoughts or just feelings, not truths that are worthy of so much attention.

Step Three: View Your Feelings in a Non-Judgmental Way

Instead of saying, “I hate these feelings” or “these thoughts are very bad,” try to just look at the event and reply with something along the lines of “This event is just what it is”. Taking a non-judgmental stance allows you to understand the event from a rational, objective point of view, instead of a biased and subjective point of view. If you are struggling with this, you may find that talking with a therapist who is trained in mindfulness or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help you immensely.

Step Four: Consider Other Behavioral Options

Once you begin to understand and label what is really going on, you can begin to consider other non-compulsive and non-avoidant options. When we are hit with a blast of anxiety, it may feel like a huge tidal wave that will destroy us. In OCD and other anxiety disorders, we often move directly from experiencing an unwanted thought, feeling, or sensation, into immediately reacting. We just want to make it all go away as soon as possible. But we have the option of choosing to slow down and seeing how our brains have created an event that feels far more threatening than it actually is. Perhaps putting the top up and rolling the windows up is not be the best idea!

Step Five: Take Action…By Not Reacting

This is the moment of truth. In step five, you will have to be willing to take a risk and challenge your thoughts and feelings by not responding in a compulsive or avoidant manner. You will have to be willing to experience discomfort instead of the relief of immediately being comforted. This is a bold and courageous step. It requires a full commitment to feeling your discomfort. And this is where you will really begin to free yourself from the behaviors that have reduced the quality of your life. In this step, you will make the decision to open your self to experiencing the unwanted thoughts, feelings, or sensations that you find so uncomfortable.

This is the moment where you have two options. You can choose to avoid and/or control your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or you can choose to allow the moment to be what it is. It is the moment where you decide to either pull over and get short-term relief, or to sit with short-term discomfort in the hope of improving your long-term experience of life.

Step Six: Feel the Curves of the Road Beneath You

If you are willing to commit to sitting with your discomfort and getting back on the road, this step will help you to do it without doing compulsions. Step six is all about just feeling the curves of the road beneath you and not trying to control or change anything about your experience. Sit back and just be in the moment, letting the road and the wheels take you over all the bumps and sharp corners. Take notice of the view, without placing any expectations on how the view “should” look, or how you “should” feel. Let the car take the corners, without trying to hold on too tight. Often, when we loosen our grip on how we want things to be and allow some flexibility, we enjoy our experience much more.

Accept whatever discomfort you are experiencing. Befriend it and learn that it is rarely the horror that you fear it will be. It is almost never the catastrophe that we anticipate. I find it is often helpful to implement some kind of breathing training at this step. Try to breathe into whatever it is that you are experiencing. Breathe and take notice of your breath as you observe what your body is feeling.

The main goal of mindfulness is to accept whatever comes your way. Pot holes! Fear! Cracks in the pavement!! Irritability! Huge hills!  Panic! Areas where there is no pavement at all! Feeling out of control! Try to take on each obstacle as it arrives, without anticipating or planning for a specific outcome. Before you know it, you will be home and you will look back and be glad you took the drive.

Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist at the the OCD Center of Los Angeles, a private, outpatient clinic specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related conditions. In addition to individual therapy, the center offers six weekly therapy groups, as well as online therapy, telephone therapy, and intensive outpatient treatment.  To contact the OCD Center of Los Angeles, click here.

Image: “Country Roads” © Capn Madd Matt – Used under a Creative Commons license.

21 Comments

  • I think this is a wonderful post that shows how mindfulness can truly help in CBT for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Thank you for this easy to understand article that is sure to help many. The awareness and acceptance that you discuss are crucial to recovery.

    Reply
  • I’ve gone through quite a bit of mindfulness and DBT therapy. I totally get it intellectually but still have such a HARD TIME implementing it. Thoughts?

    Reply
  • Janet,

    Thank you for your feedback. I hope the article reaches out to those who are in combat with their discomfort. I find that just leaning into our discomfort a tiny bit is the first step.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • MB,

    It is not uncommon to experience resistance to mindfulness. When we are experiencing anxiety or depression, leaning into our discomfort often goes against everything our minds and bodies are telling us.

    Acceptance is not just accepting the discomfort we are feeling or the thoughts we are thinking. It is also accepting that discomfort is a normal human experience. There is usually a direct relationship between our attachment to things being “perfect” or “right” and the level of suffering we experience. If we are committed to a life free of discomfort, we are going to hate every bump on the road.

    I often find that we negotiate the degree to which we accept discomfort. This is usually based on how much of a risk we are willing to take. Acceptance means taking a risk that you may or may not feel a certain way later or that your obsession may or may not come true. Acceptance means taking a risk and experimenting with discomfort in your life, without labeling it as “unacceptable” or “forever”. Ultimately, implementation of mindfulness is the commitment to actually letting the feelings be there and moving on despite their presence.

    I hope this helps.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
    • Best explanation i’ve ever read. How do u face anxieties of fear of death. Is the approach the same. Hard to face this when it doesn’t really happen (but hoping it does because your so tired of dealing with it but your so scared of it). Vicious cycles. Anxiety since i was 8 when I choked severely. i’ve have had severe anxiety ever since. I think im afraid of dying my sister feels its the fear of suffering. Thoughts?

      Reply
      • Hi Sarah,

        Facing the fear of things that have not happened can be effectively done with a technique called Imaginal Exposure.

        That said, I think it is safe to say that what you fear actually has happened. No I don’t mean that you died – I mean that you had a legitimately scary and potentially life-threatening experience when you had a severe choking event. I encourage you to have CBT that focuses specifically on that event and your subsequent death-related fears.

        Reply
  • Hi, I am from the UK and Very interested in your work. I have had cbt and erp for ocd 2 times and waiting for a third. Because my OCD appears more like GAD these days, i’m sure they are going to implement mindfulness into my cbt. I know however how similar my brain still is, and its still very OCD. Is it best to get straight on a particular course? I get mindfulness and used it before to desensitise obsessions when i had them, now a long walking meditation is where i am currently at.

    any info or comment i welcome so much 🙂

    k.regards
    Daniel, London

    Reply
  • Hello there Daniel,

    When treating OCD or GAD, we find that combining CBT and Mindfulness is most successful. Meditation is also a great tool for managing anxiety. I encourage you to continue with this while also applying mindfulness throughout the entire day. This would mean accepting whatever you are experiencing and not reacting to it in an adverse way. Try to lean into your discomfort and do not judge its presence.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • Hello,

    I’ve been suffering from OCD since a few years, yet it never went too far as I was very lucky to find a therapist understanding OCD, as well as websites like yours.

    Thus I really managed to overcome most obsessions (fear of having cancer, fear of not loving ly wife, fera of harming people…). They still come back from time to time but I manage quite well to just look at them without interpreting, I am convinced mindfullness is a great weapon against OCD.

    Yet I noticed that I manage to deal with OCD only…when I know it’s OCD !
    For instance, the worst obsession I had, I think, was fear of not loving my wife… but when I saw it was clearly described as OCD symptom it moved away quickly.

    So my question is : are existential thoughts considered as OCD ? For instance stupid questions like “what if everything is fake ? Maybe I am the only one real in the world ? how was life created ?” this is I guess a bit linked to fear of derealization that I had during some bad times…

    It looks some people suffer from these thoughts, but it’s not clear whether they are part of OCD symptoms, (it’s not mentionned in your website) and thus if they can be treated the same way as Pure OCD like harm OCD for instance.

    Krgds,

    Ben

    Reply
  • Hello there Ben,

    Your question is actually a common one!! To answer your question, it is normal for those with OCD to question if their thoughts or feelings are OCD or, in fact, a “real” problem.

    Firstly, I prefer to think of all thoughts and feelings as just thoughts and feelings. If you find your self paying particular attention to one particular thought or one series of thoughts, it is possible that they may be conceptualized as OCD. Here is why:

    1. You are spending a lot of time on these thoughts and feelings.
    2. These thoughts and feelings are creating significant discomfort and feel “real”.
    3. The outcome is being met with aversion (“It would be horrible if everything was fake for the rest of my life”).
    4. You are reacting to them as if they were facts, not merely thoughts and feelings.

    These reactions would include behavioral compulsions, avoidance of things that trigger this thought or feeling, seeking reassurance that these things will not happen to you or mentally reviewing the obsession in effort to figure them out or reduce your anxiety.

    Simply put, anything can become a topic of OCD. The trick is to notice how you are reacting to a thought or feeling and see if there are any trends that are showing. If you are really struggling with this, you might find it helpful to consult with a therapist that uses CBT.

    I hope that helps.

    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • Mindfulness has been shown to have a significant impact on depression recovery rates and anxiety issues. It’s interesting to read how it can be used for OCD. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  • Hi,

    I have the same existential questions as Ben does (above).
    What if other people are a figment of my imagination? Etc.
    I am trying to accept. But what am I trying to accept? I know reality, fake or false, is not going to change. But that does not give me relief. Is it that I have to accept that I have these thoughts and feelings? Or something else?

    Greeting Erik, The Netherlands

    Reply
  • Hello there Erik,

    I think the main idea of acceptance is to accept the true experience you are having. This doesn’t mean just accepting that people may be figments of your imagination. It also means accepting that you are having thoughts about people being figments of your imagination. It also means accepting all the physical sensations that accompany that thought, and accepting that OCD is possibly causing you to experience this thought as if it was a fact. It means allowing this to be an uncertainty in your life.

    I completely understand how difficult this is. But, by slowly leaning into this discomfort, you will take away the power anxiety has over you.

    Good luck!
    Warmly,
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • i have got very bad ocd hoarding memories and it has become worse since my children were taken away from me and i have been left alone. I’ve tried what i think is mindfullness, but its left me perhaps accepting but totally without interest in this world. can you help me?

    Reply
    • Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for your comment. The best help we can offer is to provide treatment. You can learn more about our approach to treating OCD and anxiety on our website at https://ocdla.com/. If you would like to discuss online or intensive outpatient treatment, please contact our client coordinators at (310) 824-5200 (ext. 4). Take care.

      Reply
  • Hi OCDLA/Kimberly,

    I have Pure O and have now finally begun to start accepting my thoughts, feelings & sensations as inevitable & a part of the condition. However this often causes more rumination. isn’t the whole idea to focus as little as possible on these and move on to other thoughts.

    Thanks for any advice
    Anthony

    Reply
  • Hello there Anthony,

    Yes, you are not alone. I often hear people report high levels of discomfort when they begin practicing mindfulness. I believe this is because acceptance results in being uncertain, and being “uncertain” often makes us feel the need to “work it out” or find answers. Try not to fall prey to this. This is just OCD’s way of getting you to do compulsions again. Try to just allow uncertainty and the resulting discomfort. Not fighting uncertainty and discomfort is the hardest AND most rewarding part of practicing mindfulness.

    Good luck!!!
    Kimberley

    Reply
  • I have pure o , i dont like my husband and thats real cause he is fat and im slim , his face dosent attract me , i have achild of him , i’ve been married for five years , and every day , i think how this marriage destroy my life , this is fact . , i also have horrible experience with thoughts and questions about god , could i use mindfulness for dealing with my thought about my husband which its really fact , please help me , im so sad .

    Reply
  • Can hocd cause false feelings? Like feelings of attraction that just don’t feel right or good please tell me what this means???? I hate them so much and I had the worse night of my life it’s like the attractions come out of know where to everyone basically every thought every thing even objects and I don’t understand amything it’s like my mind is every where and I don’t understand it please help me

    Reply
    • Ells,

      What you call “false feelings”, I call “feelings”. People with HOCD frequently worry that they are having unwanted feelings, and that these feelings mean something special and important. But by over-attending to your feelings, thoughts, emotions, sensations, etc., you give meaning to things that you would not have even noticed had you not been over-attending. In other words, by focusing on your feelings and examining them, you make mountains out of molehills.

      A better option is to stop examining what you are feeling, and to stop giving your feelings some sort of special importance.

      That said, there is no way for me to provide you with meaningful help via blog comments. I encourage you to seek treatment with a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for OCD.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments are limited to a maximum of 750 characters. Your email address will not be published.

You have to agree to the comment policy.

Recent Articles

  • Exposure and Response Prevention via TeletherapyExposure and Response Prevention: Is It Effective Via Telehealth?
    Chanel Taghdis, LMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses the efficacy of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD and related conditions when conducted via teletherapy. […]
    No Comments
  • Response Prevention for OCD and Anxiety-300Mindfulness-Based Response Prevention for OCD and Anxiety
    Chris Cincotta, LMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses how to implement an effective mindfulness-based response prevention approach for the treatment of OCD and anxiety, and how to prevent mindfulness from becoming just another compulsion. […]
    10 Comments
  • OCD Center of Los Angeles - 2021 Online OCD Conference2021 Online OCD Conference
    Kelley Franke, Lauren McMeikan Rosen, Elena Fasan, and Mary Sponaugle of the OCD Center of Los Angeles will be giving three presentations at the Online OCD Conference being held October 8-10, 2021. […]
    No Comments
  • Trichotillomania: My Journey to Treatment and RecoveryTrichotillomania: My Journey to Treatment and Recovery
    Trichotillomania is a condition in which sufferers repeatedly pull out their hair. Chanel Taghdis, MA, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses her personal experience with, and recovery from, Trichotillomania, and how she treats clients struggling with this condition. […]
    22 Comments
  • Skills for managing COVID-19 and OCDHow Learning to Live with COVID-19 Can Help Kids Manage OCD
    Parents can teach kids skills to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic that have the added benefit of helping them cope more effectively with OCD. […]
    No Comments
  • When OCD Comes Between Us: Relationship OCD and RecoveryWhen OCD Comes Between Us: Relationship OCD and Recovery
    Laura Yocum, Lauren McMeikan, and Kelley Franke of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discuss Relationship OCD (ROCD) at the Online OCD Conference on August 2, 2020. […]
    No Comments
  • Online therapy for OCD and anxietyQ&A: Online Therapy for OCD, Anxiety and Related Conditions
    An interview with Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, about the use of online therapy for the treatment of OCD and related conditions. […]
    12 Comments
  • Making Peace with Uncertainty: Living in the Midst of a PandemicMaking Peace with Uncertainty: Living in the Midst of a Pandemic
    When it comes to uncertainty and anxiety related to COVID-19, most of us don’t want to feel it. But resistance just makes things worse. […]
    23 Comments
  • Debra Dalton Stein, MFT ~ OCD Center of Los AngelesMy Journey to Becoming an OCD Specialist
    Debra Dalton Stein, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles describes her journey as a psychotherapist from working primarily with eating disorders, to becoming an OCD specialist. […]
    10 Comments
  • OCD vs. GADOCD vs. GAD and How to Tell the Difference
    OCD is often misdiagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The OCD Center of L.A. reviews diagnostic & treatment differences between these conditions. […]
    20 Comments
  • Pure OPure O 101
    People with Pure Obsessional OCD ("Pure O") often feel overwhelmed by intrusive, distressing thoughts. Tom Corboy, MFT of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Pure O and its many permutations. […]
    86 Comments
  • Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder, aka DermatillomaniaExcoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder, aka Dermatillomania
    Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder is an obsessive-compulsive spectrum condition in which sufferers repeatedly pick at their skin. Crystal Quater, MMFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses her personal experience with, and recovery from, Excoriation Disorder, and how she treats clients struggling with this condition. […]
    78 Comments
  • OCD is Fake News: The brain is a machine for jumping to conclusionsOCD is Fake News
    OCD obsessions are just fake news that your brain makes up. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Helping clients in California and around the world since 1999. […]
    65 Comments
  • HOCD - 30 Things You Need To KnowHOCD: 30 Things You Need To Know
    HOCD is a type of OCD in which the individual obsesses about their sexual orientation. Here are 30 things you should know about HOCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    508 Comments
  • Doubt, Denial, and OCDDoubt, Denial and OCD
    A discussion of "The Denial Obsession" in OCD, in which sufferers obsess that they don't really have OCD, but are merely "in denial". By Lauren McMeikan, MA, and Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    164 Comments
  • Dermatillomania: A Skin Picker's Guide to the DermatologistDermatillomania: A Skin Picker’s Guide to the Dermatologist
    How one woman with Dermatillomania finally opened up to her dermatologist about her longtime struggle with skin picking. […]
    44 Comments
  • Imaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety - OCD Center of Los AngelesImaginal Exposure for OCD and Anxiety
    Imaginal exposure for the treatment of OCD and anxiety is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    232 Comments
  • ROCD - Relationship OCDROCD: Relationship OCD and The Myth of “The One”
    ROCD (Relationship OCD) is an often misunderstood variant of OCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    694 Comments
  • Moral Scrupulosity in OCDMoral Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions
    A review of cognitive distortions seen in Moral Scrupulosity OCD, and a discussion of how to effectively challenge them. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    65 Comments
  • OCD in the Family
    One mom's story of her son's battle with OCD and its profound impact on their family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    5 Comments
  • Scrupulosity in OCD: Cognitive Distortions
    A discussion of cognitive distortions in the religious Scrupulosity subtype of OCD. Part two of a multi-part series. […]
    40 Comments
  • OCD and Eating Disorders
    Diagnostic similarities and differences between OCD and eating disorders are discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    6 Comments
  • Harm OCD treatment with ERPHarm OCD Treatment With ERP
    Harm OCD treatment using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, Executive Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles . […]
    186 Comments
  • My Life with OCD
    The impact of OCD and related anxiety based disorders on the family is often overlooked. In this multi-part series, we present first-hand accounts of the ongoing impact of OCD, BDD, and Bipolar Disorder on one man and his family, as told to Elizabeth Kassel, MSW, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    18 Comments
  • Scrupulosity OCDScrupulosity: Where OCD Meets Religion, Faith, and Belief
    The Scrupulosity sub-type of OCD is discussed by Kevin Foss, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Part one of a four part series. […]
    222 Comments
  • Hoarding, Cluttering, and Compulsive Shopping: My Childhood Story
    One woman's story of her life as the child of multiple generations of hoarders. […]
    12 Comments
  • Thought Action FusionOCD and Thought-Action Fusion
    Thought-Action Fusion is a frequent problem for those with OCD. This issue is discussed by Laura Yocum, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    27 Comments
  • OCD, Anxiety, and Resistance
    Resistance and acceptance in OCD and related disorders is discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    21 Comments
  • Harm OCD Treatment: Cognitive Restructuring
    Harm OCD is often misunderstood, but it can be effectively treated using an integrated treatment plan that includes Cognitive Restructuring. Part three of our ongoing series that explores "Harm OCD" and its treatment . […]
    102 Comments
  • OCD & Anxiety: Five Common Roadblocks to Treatment
    Learn the five common mistakes that interfere with successful treatment of OCD and anxiety. By Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    26 Comments
  • Harm OCD Treatment: Mindfulness Based CBT
    Harm OCD is an often misunderstood condition that can be effectively treated using Mindfulness integrated with CBT. Part two of a multi-part series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    100 Comments
  • Skin Picking Disorder / Dermatillomania TreatmentDermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder Treatment
    Treatment of Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) with CBT. Part two of a series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    164 Comments
  • Harm OCD: Symptoms and Treatment
    This is the first installment in a series of articles in which The OCD Center of Los Angeles demystifies both the symptoms and the treatment of Harm OCD. […]
    461 Comments
  • Orthorexia: Where Eating Disorders Meet OCD – Part 2
    Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness for the treatment of Orthorexia. Part two of a two-part series. […]
    18 Comments
  • Casey Anthony, Reasonable Doubt, and OCD
    Harm OCD and 'reasonable doubt' are discussed in relation to the Casey Anthony murder trial. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles.unbearable. […]
    10 Comments
  • ABCs of DermatillomaniaThe ABC’s of Dermatillomania / Skin Picking Disorder
    Symptoms and treatment of Skin Picking Disorder, also known as Dermatillomania. From The OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    208 Comments
  • HOCD / Gay OCD: Challenges to Treatment
    Common challenges seen in the treatment of HOCD / Gay OCD are discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Part four of a four-part series. […]
    439 Comments
  • Orthorexia: Where Eating Disorders Meet OCD
    Orthorexia is an eating disorder in which people obsess about eating only "pure" and "healthy" foods. By Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    12 Comments
  • Thought Suppression and OCD
    Thought suppression is a common feature of OCD, especially for those with Pure Obsessional OCD (sometimes called "Pure O"). […]
    23 Comments
  • HOCD / Gay OCD: Common Subtypes
    Common subtypes of HOCD / Gay OCD are discussed. Part three of a four part series. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    409 Comments
  • Social Anxiety / Social Phobia: Alone With Witnesses – Part 2
    Treatment of Social Anxiety is discussed, along with its relationship with other OC spectrum disorders. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    10 Comments
  • Social Anxiety / Social Phobia: Alone With Witnesses – Part 1
    Many people mistakenly think of Social Anxiety as nothing more than shyness. In this two-part series, the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Social Anxiety and its treatment with CBT. […]
    9 Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Research – Year in Review
    Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles reviews research studies published in 2010 related to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). […]
    4 Comments
  • Binge Eating Disorder / Compulsive Overeating and Its Treatment
    Binge Eating Disorder, also known as ‘”compulsive overeating”, can perhaps best be described as a condition in which one periodically consumes extremely large amounts of food. Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses Binge Eating Disorder and its treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). […]
    7 Comments
  • Gay OCD / HOCD Treatment
    Treatment of Gay OCD / HOCD / Sexual Orientation OCD using CBT and Mindfulness is discussed by the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    196 Comments
  • Gay OCD / HOCD / Sexual Orientation OCD
    Symptoms & treatment of Gay OCD, also known as HOCD, or Sexual Orientation OCD. From The OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    744 Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Teens
    Increasing numbers of teens are having elective cosmetic surgeries to address body image issues, without fully considering the physical and psychological risks involved. […]
    No Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Body Image in the News
    A discussion of BDD and recent news reports about the condition. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Serving clients in California and internationally. […]
    1 Comment
  • Treatment of OCD and OC Spectrum Disorders in Children
    The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of OCD and anxiety in children and adolescents. […]
    No Comments
  • Trichotillomania, Skin Picking Disorder, and the Resistor’s High
    The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses treatment of Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder) and Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder). […]
    8 Comments
  • Memory Hoarding in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Many people with OCD engage in 'memory hoarding', a mental compulsion to over-attend to the details of an event, person, or object. Memory hoarding is done with the belief that the event, person, or object carries a special significance, and may be important to recall exactly as-is at a later date. […]
    263 Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 3
    An Australian pro boxer assaults a 70-year old man on a ferry boat and claims his OCD made him do it. Last of a three part series on OCD and the law. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 2
    A Kentucky man murdered his wife and then tried to claim that his OCD led him to kill her. Part 2 of a 3 part series. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    4 Comments
  • OCD and the Law – Part 1
    A Scottish man claims his massive child pornography collection is due to OCD. Part 1 of a 3 part series from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    1 Comment
  • OCD Stockholm Syndrome
    Something akin to the Stockholm Syndrome occurs in some people who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ). […]
    2 Comments
  • Athletes With Anxiety
    Mental health has long been shrouded in secrecy and shame. So when public figures like professional athletes actively seek help for anxiety, it is a sign of cultural progress. Here are some who have gone public with their struggles. […]
    1 Comment
  • Social Anxiety in Baseball Revisted
    This past week marked the arrival of the 2010 Major League baseball season. And as with last year, this season already has three developing stories of athletes dealing with Social Anxiety. […]
    No Comments
  • Treatment of OCD and Anxiety: A Brief History
    A look at how the treatment of OCD and related anxiety disorders has changed over time, especially the development of CBT and mindfulness for OCD. […]
    3 Comments
  • Tiger Woods, Sex Addiction, and OCD – Part 2
    Sex addiction is misconstrued by many to be a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This article reviews various factors relevant to determining what diagnosis might be more appropriate. Second of a two part series. […]
    4 Comments
  • Tiger Woods, Sex Addiction, and OCD
    Many people, including professional psychotherapists, incorrectly think of sex addiction as a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This article reviews the essential differences between these two conditions and, how therapeutic strategies used for the treatment of OCD are unlikely to be successful when treating sex addiction. First of a two part series. […]
    18 Comments
  • Latisse and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
    The drug Latisse is prescribed to lengthen eyelashes, but it has significant, under-reported side effects. This raises two questions - is Latisse safe, and does its marketing exploit women's body image concerns? […]
    2 Comments
  • Proposed DSM-5 Changes for OCD and Anxiety Disorders
    The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed significant revisions to its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition" (DSM-IV). Tom Corboy of the OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses changes planned for the new DSM-5, specifically those relevant to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related anxiety-based conditions. […]
    7 Comments
  • Reassurance Seeking in OCD and Anxiety
    Those with OCD and other anxiety based conditions often seek reassurance that their unwanted thoughts and feelings are not a threat. The OCD Center of Los Angeles discusses the problem of using reassurance seeking as an anxiety management strategy. […]
    92 Comments
  • Phobia Treatment in Unconventional Settings
    Traditionally, phobias have been treated in a therapist's office. But effective help for phobias can now be found in some very unexpected places. […]
    No Comments
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Cosmetic Surgery
    Many with Body Dysmorphic Disorder turn to cosmetic surgery in an attempt to alleviate their insecurities. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cosmetic surgeons who are more than willing to cash in on those with this serious psychiatric condition. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD & Anxiety: The Year 2009 in Review
    OCD and anxiety were in the news throughout 2009. Here are our votes for the top stories of the year about OCD and related anxiety based conditions. […]
    2 Comments
  • Bizarre, Disturbing, Weird, and Unwanted Thoughts in OCD
    Everybody has bizarre thoughts. But people with OCD respond differently to these thoughts. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    26 Comments
  • Emetophobia treatment at the OCD Center of Los Angeles with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)Emetophobia and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    Emetophobia is the fear of vomit and/or vomiting. Tom Corboy, MFT, Executive Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, discusses Emetophobia and its treatment. […]
    85 Comments
  • OCD and Mental Checking
    People with OCD often struggle with 'mental compulsions'. The OCD Center of Los Angeles explores how to manage this sometimes baffling problem. […]
    186 Comments
  • Cyberchondria: Health Anxiety in the 21st Century
    The twin explosions of television and the internet have spawned a sharp increase in Hypochondria, and spawned a new mental health issue - 'Cyberchondria'. […]
    8 Comments
  • Is Compulsive Overeating OCD?
    A discussion of compulsive overeating (aka binge eating) and how it differs from OCD. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Serving clients internationally. […]
    No Comments
  • Cy Young, Zack Greinke, and Social Anxiety
    Zack Greinke has overcome his Social Anxiety to become a superstar in major league baseball. […]
    No Comments
  • Exposure Therapy for OCD and AnxietyExposure Therapy for OCD and Anxiety
    Exposure therapy for OCD and other anxiety conditions is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    46 Comments
  • Social Anxiety Research
    Recent Social Anxiety research is discussed by Tom Corboy, MFT, executive director of the CD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD Awareness Week
         […]
    No Comments
  • CBT and Evidence Based Psychotherapy
    Unfortunately, many psychotherapists dismiss evidence-based treatments such as CBT, instead choosing to do what feels comfortable for them. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD, Mental Health, and the National Health Care Debate
    A look at the national health care debate, especially as it pertains to OCD and related anxiety based conditions. […]
    No Comments
  • Childhood OCD, Strep Infections, and PANDAS
    There is a growing body of research that indicates strep infections are related to rapid-onset OCD in children. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Swine Flu – Part 2
    Panic about the Swine Flu continues, despite facts that suggest there is no cause for increased concern. […]
    No Comments
  • 2009 Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation Conference
    A review of the 2009 Obsessive Compulsive Foundation conference. […]
    No Comments
  • New Trichotillomania Research
    A look at recent research related to Trichotillomania. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • Parenting a Child With OCD
    Parenting any child is a full-time job. But parenting a child with OCD can be particularly challenging. From the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    No Comments
  • Social Anxiety in Baseball
    A look at the recent rash of pro baseball players struggling with Social Anxiety Disorder. […]
    No Comments
  • Michael Jackson and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
    A look at the sad tale of Michael Jackson and his mental health issues. […]
    No Comments
  • OCD and the Swine Flu
    The past few months have seen an avalanche of news stories on the Swine Flu, despite its relatively low impact in the US. […]
    No Comments
  • Meet the OCD Center of Los Angeles Staff
    Meet the OCD Center of Los Angeles Staff […]
    No Comments
  • Welcome to the OCD Center of Los Angeles Blog
    Welcome to the OCD Center of Los Angeles Blog […]
    No Comments

    
OCD Center of Los Angeles

We're Here to Help

During the coronavirus emergency, our 12 staff therapists are available for telephone therapy or online, webcam-based therapy.