Serving the community since 1999

Specializing in OCD and related conditions

Three Locations in Southern California:

Los Angeles • Woodland Hills
Newport Beach

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, its treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and its relationship to other OC Spectrum Disorders.

Social Anxiety
Social Anxiety is more than just shyness.

When we initially began treating people with Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as Social Phobia), it seemed that this condition was primarily a problem of interesting people not realizing that they are interesting.  While this is a significant element of the disorder, there is more going on than one might initially expect.

In reality,  Social Anxiety and Social Phobia are terms used to describe a cluster of symptoms that center around the fear of being negatively evaluated by others.  This is often confused with being shy or introverted, or even schizoid.  An introvert may genuinely prefer the quiet solitude of turning inwards to the self rather than outwards to other people, while someone with schizoid personality disorder may simply not find the presence of other people to be pleasing.  In either of these cases, the experience of isolation from others is essentially rooted in ego-syntonic thoughts, which simply means that the thoughts are consistent with the individual’s true beliefs and values.  In other words, those who are truly introverted or schizoid genuinely prefer to be alone.

Conversely, a person suffering from Social Anxiety is burdened by unwanted intrusive thoughts about being judged, rejected, and/or and humiliated by others.

In some cases, these thoughts may be ego-syntonic, coinciding with the individual’s distorted core belief that they genuinely deserve negative judgment.  On the other hand, Social Anxiety may at times also be rooted in thoughts that are ego-dystonic, which simply means that the thoughts are inconsistent with the individual’s beliefs and values.  To these people, their thoughts about negative evaluation appear strange and irrational.  They don’t see themselves as being worthy of negative evaluation, yet the thought repeatedly pops up anyway.

Ironically most of the people we treat with Social Anxiety are anything but shy.  All it takes is a sense of safety and permission to be themselves and they are eager to be social.   It is worth noting that the term “social” here does not mean casual.  For many, the symptoms of Social Anxiety are equally troubling in the work environment, where fear of disapproval from someone in a position of authority or fear of disrespect from a subordinate can greatly impair functioning.  It may also be prevalent in the classroom where overvalued thoughts of rejection by peers can consume daily life.  So the term social applies to any environment that involves one or more other people.

Presentation Anxiety vs. Connection Anxiety

Social Anxiety seems to fall into two main categories, which can be described as Presentation Anxiety and Connection Anxiety.  Presentation Anxiety focuses on an intense fear of being judged negatively while engaging in some sort of solitary interaction with a group of people.  This often manifests as a fear of public speaking, but it is equally debilitating for the person who fears being negatively evaluated in a small social gathering such as a party.

Conversely, people who suffer from Connection Anxiety may or may not feel comfortable in the spotlight in a group setting, but experience far more intense discomfort in one-on-one interactions.  This has unfortunate implications for establishing relationships with people in an unstructured environment.  Connection Anxiety appears to be less talked about because it is common to see those with this type of  anxiety actively and comfortably engaged in large social environments.  But in our clinical experience, it is equally prevalent and every bit as debilitating.

Those with both forms of Social Anxiety may be adept at hiding their symptoms so long as they steer clear of their primary triggers.  For example, someone with Presentation Anxiety may be a social butterfly at parties but freeze in terror at the thought of giving a best man speech or asking a question in class.  Conversely, someone with Connection Anxiety may have no qualms about performing on stage, but may dread the interactions inherent in dating.  This may explain why some entertainers who have spent their careers on stage or on camera (Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Donny Osmond, Kim Basinger, and Jane Lynch to name a few), have reported having Social Anxiety, despite their careers in the public eye.

Both Presentation and Connection Anxiety may converge in the presence of small groups.  A small group has both the critical mass necessary for one to feel ganged up on or out of place, as well as the intimacy in which one might feel suffocated.  This, among other reasons, is why group treatment is particularly effective for the Social Anxiety.

Social Anxiety and The Bully-in-the-Head Syndrome

While it is by no means a prerequisite for diagnosis, it does appear at least anecdotally that many sufferers of Social Anxiety have a history of being abused or bullied by others in one way or another.  Because Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) generally maintains a present/future orientation, comparatively little emphasis is placed on the relationship between past experiences and the development of a current psychological condition.  While the past may give us insight into how a sufferer developed faulty core beliefs about themselves, and how they learned to cope with stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, this knowledge often provides the therapist with little information that can be used to help bring about change in the present cognitions and behaviors that are causing the current symptoms.

This being said, it is difficult to ignore how often Social Anxiety sufferers report to me that they were bullied or abused before their symptoms surfaced.  For many with Social Anxiety, being judged in a present-day social context means suffering traumatic emotional flashbacks.  A failed attempt at eye contact or a sound that could be mistakenly interpreted as a judgmental chuckle from an audience can be experienced as a raised fist.

One way of understanding this is to consider how a person might respond to repeated bullying over time.  In the early stage of bullying, a person may develop a strong fighting instinct, an assumption that all people are bullies, but that “I am king bully and you better watch out”.  In fact, recent research suggests that many childhood bullies may actually have Social Anxiety Disorder.  However, if bullying continues to such an extent that a person’s “fight” instinct is exhausted, the brain’s only other option is to put itself in perpetual “flight” mode.  The same assumption develops, that all people are bullies, but an alternate rationale follows – “all people are threatening and stronger than me”.  The bully that was on the outside is thus born on the inside.

Imagine you went to a party and the first thing that happened to you was someone walked right up to your face and said, “You look weird.  Why did you come here?  Everyone here is more attractive and more interesting than you.  You are an eye-sore and a bore.”  You might laugh at the absurdity of the situation, punch the person in the face, or get terribly offended and leave.  Now imagine the same thing happens, but the person who comes up to you actually is you.  This bully-in-the-head syndrome is shared by many with Social Anxiety.  Since running from the party doesn’t shut the bully up, panic ensues.  This is followed by intense mental ritual aimed at quieting the bully and/or escaping the unwanted thoughts and feelings that arise.  In other words, leaving the party is only a preview of trying to leave the self.

The Cringe

As mentioned above, Social Anxiety involves an obsessive fear of being evaluated negatively by other people.  However, this does not offer a complete picture of the Social Anxiety experience.  In the course of treatment of Social Anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), one common restructuring technique is to encourage the sufferer to rate (as a percentage score) the likelihood that a given social situation will go badly, as well as the likelihood (again, as a percentage) that they will be unable to tolerate this event occurring.  This is a good way to weed out catastrophizing distortions and the areas in which a Social Anxiety sufferer may be overestimating risks.

What’s interesting about this is that we have frequently found social anxiety sufferers will initially rate these concepts very high, such as an 80% likelihood that a person will notice if they are nervous and a 90% likelihood that this will be unbearably upsetting.  However, when the terms are reframed and we ask this same person if they really believe that 8 out of 10 times (80%) the feared event will occur, they are often quick to drop the estimate considerably.

On the other hand, the belief that the experience, if it were to occur, would be intolerable, remains the same.  They may concur that the embarrassment is not the end of the world, and that they won’t literally die, but they will often stick to the conviction that no matter how unlikely the feared event, experiencing that event must be avoided at any cost.  What this reveals is not just low self-confidence, but a fear of this specific form of discomfort.  Simply put, Social Anxiety is primarily about avoiding this discomfort – “I don’t care what people think, I just don’t want to feel bad.  It’s not that I know for sure what they are thinking and it’s not that their opinion really even matters.  I just hate the way it feels when I even think about it!”

It is this feeling, the Cringe, the stabbing sense of shame that compels the person with Social Anxiety to engage in socially avoidant behaviors again and again.  Treatment therefore relies not solely on convincing oneself that there is nothing to be afraid of, but on mastering your ability to accept and integrate this feeling as a normal, tolerable event.

In part two of this series, we examine how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach treatment for Social Anxiety.

The OCD Center of Los Angeles is a private, outpatient clinic specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of OCD, Social Anxiety, and related.  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.

SaveSave

9 Comments

  • For years, in therapy, I’ve been using the word “discomfort” rather than “anxiety” as the main descriptor for unbearable pain that occurs in this disorder. Unfortunately, nobody knows yet how to utilize this information in order to help people like us, but it’s good to know that at least some people are beginning to study this disorder.

    Reply
  • I am a psychology major and doing a report on different mental disorders including social anxiety this is the best page i have came across yet. Thanks for the insight keep it up

    Reply
  • I think this sounds a lot like me, with the “bully in the head.” My sisters and some family members were so cruel and cutting my entire life, and still are! (and I’m 62!) that I still half-expect to be raked over the coals by everyone I come in contact with.

    I am normally a very outgoing, engaging person, with a huge terror and avoidance of doing anything “publicly,” i.e. talking, presentations, theater, dance, performances of any kind because my sisters would do whatever they could to criticize and humiliate me.

    They took after another relative of mine who apparently “trained them” to behave this way, and they never changed. They enjoyed it, most likely. I have only recently come to find out that my family is plagued with OCD and Borderline Personality Disorders, but I am still just plain flat-out afraid of other people. I hide it as well as I can, but I am the last one to arrive and the first one to leave if I can help it. And better yet, the one who just doesn’t go. But stays home alone feeling bad about it!

    I’m going to save this article to re-read and see what I can do to begin to get rid of this “bully in the head.” I have taken up right where my family left off!

    Dear Lord please show me The Way.

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

    And I need those sails right now!

    Reply
  • Thanks for your comment, Catherine. The type of criticism you describe growing up often results in borderline-like symptoms. Because your emotional experience was invalidated so consistently, you end up approaching emotional expression either through outbursts or through avoidance. Operating in the middle ground and accepting the uncertainty of how this will be received is a great challenge. But with the right treatment, it is a challenge that can be met! An important part of learning to overcome this brand of social phobia is to learn to HEAR the bully without LISTENING to it… accepting that the bully voice exists, but letting it exist instead of fleeing from it.

    Reply
  • The “bully-in-the-head syndrome” seems similar to what I call the “imaginary audience/jury” inside my head — as a symptom of OCD.

    Is there also a connection between bullying (public humiliation) and onset/precipitation of OCD symptoms?

    Reply
    • Hi Ishmael,

      I agree – your term sounds very much the same. There are many similarities between OCD and Social Anxiety, and this internal critic is common to both disorders.

      That said, I do not know of any research linking bullying or public humiliation directly with OCD. But I am confident that there is research showing a link between bullying and the development of anxiety and depression. And we have treated many clients for whom bullying was a significant factor in the onset of their OCD.

      Reply
  • I seem to have taken social anxiety to a new level. I have it when I am alone. Whether at home, driving, being in a store or restaurant, or just walking, I feel like I’m being watched. I know there is no one there but the feeling is. I can’t sing, dance, or walk around the house naked. If a window blind is slightly open, I have to close it. If I do something that I feel is embarrassing I verbally berate myself. I never thought about it much until someone suggested that I should practice for a job interview in front of the mirror. My response was anxiety at th thought of it. So, they said I should do it when no one is home. This feels even more humiliating. So, what now? Are there others like me? Strangely, I am a performer. I love being on stage and interacting with the audience.

    Reply
    • Jackie,

      As our article notes, there are many performers who are far more comfortable on a stage or on camera than they are dealing with people in “real life”. After all, in real life you have to be accepted for the real you, not for your stage persona. Real life means real vulnerability.

      You ask “what now”, and the answer is simple – get into treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating Social Anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There is no reason to continue suffering when help is available.

      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
  • Mindfulness for OCD and Anxiety
    Using mindfulness to enhance traditional CBT for OCD and anxiety is discussed by Kimberley Quinlan, MFT, Clinical Director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles. […]
    21 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
  • 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.