Treatment for OCD without medication – Online Mindfulness Therapist for OCD


Welcome! My name is Peter Strong. I’m a professional psychotherapist and I offer
online therapy for anxiety and depression, addictions and also for the treatment of OCD. So obsessive-compulsive disorder really describes
a problem of reactive intrusive thoughts; thoughts that just keep appearing in the mind
and that trigger compulsive behaviors. Now how do we manage these intrusive thoughts? Well there are certain things we must understand. The first is that you cannot remove intrusive
thoughts by willpower. If you try to stop those intrusive thoughts
you will actually end up making them stronger, because the effort to stop the thoughts is
based on fear; it is a fear-based reaction, and any kind of reaction that is fear-based
will have the effect of strengthening the emotional or cognitive habit that is already
there. So we have to develop a different way of working
with intrusive thoughts than trying to get rid of them or remove them or even trying
to distract ourselves away from them. Avoidance is also going to be primarily fear-based
and that will simply feed those intrusive thoughts. So we must take a different approach, and
the approach that I teach involves mindfulness training. So mindfulness therapy teaches you how to
change your relationship to those intrusive thoughts from one of fear and anger, which
is also fear-based, to one of equanimity, of allowing the thought to be there without
reacting to it. And also friendliness. This is an essential part of mindfulness training. You learn to make friends with those intrusive
thoughts, even if they are negative thoughts or painful thoughts. The most important thing is to develop a non-reactive
relationship with those thoughts and that will involve developing a friendliness-based
relationship with the thoughts. Friendliness is non-reactive and it is not
fear-based. So this will essentially take away the fuel
that feeds those intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts become intrusive because
of the emotional charge that they have. It’s not the thought itself that’s the problem,
it’s the emotional charge that the thought has, and this is what keeps it coming back. We need to find a way to defuse that emotional
charge, and the first way is not to feed the emotion. So that’s the reason why we focus on developing
a friendly non-reactive relationship with those intrusive thoughts and memories also. Now it is not sufficient to just let them
be there and hope that they will go away by themselves. That is not quite enough. Thoughts will go away by themselves, but we
want to help them go away. In other words we have to train with the thoughts
to help them resolve themselves. And one of the best ways to do this is to
look at the imagery of these thoughts and then change that imagery. So intrusive thoughts have a high emotional
charge and that is maintained by their internal imagery. So those thoughts typically will look large;
they will be high in your visual field and often they will have an intense color as well. This imagery is what keeps that emotional
charge alive and that’s what keeps the thoughts in an intrusive and repetitive manner in the
mind. So when we can start to develop a friendly
and conscious, a mindful, relationship with the thoughts then we can begin to explore
this imagery. We get to see the imagery. If you react to the intrusive thoughts then
you won’t see anything, you will just experience the reaction and the fear. But if you have a non-reactive relationship,
then you get to see more and you will get to see how this imagery works. When you identify aspects of that imagery
then you can begin to bring in the element of choice, you can start to change that imagery. And this is what’s involved in training the
thoughts to resolve themselves faster. The reason they don’t resolve is because that
imagery can’t change. It’s an unconscious habitual part of the structure
of the thought. But when you bring mindfulness to it you see
the imagery clearly and then you can begin to help it change. So this is really helping the thought resolve
itself. And when it changes his imagery it loses that
emotional charge and then it will disappear. So this is what’s involved in training with
our intrusive obsessive-compulsive thoughts. We look at the imagery and we start changing
it. Very typically, this will involve making the
thoughts very small. The smaller the thought, the less emotional
charge. It will involve changing their position. Typically intrusive thoughts are at a high
level, that is they are the level of the head. They are inside the head or buzzing around
the head like a swarm of bees. That’s part of their imagery. If you change the position and put those thoughts
on the ground, that can significantly reduce the emotional intensity, the charge of the
thoughts, and that will help it resolve. So if we train the thoughts to move their
position to the ground you will help neutralize the intrusive nature of those thoughts. Changing color is also a very interesting
thing to explore. Typically intrusive thoughts will have a very
vivid color, usually a bright color, perhaps red or orange or black. If you change the color you will change the
emotional charge of that thought. So we explore changing color. So there are lots of things we can do along
these lines. The most important thing though, is that you
have to first establish that non-reactive relationship so you can see the thoughts very
clearly and then start to train with them and teach them how to resolve themselves. From my experience with working with people
who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder and intrusive memories; thoughts including
traumatic memories, I find that this Mindfulness Therapy approach to be the best approach that
I have ever explored with people. It Is very, very effective. So if you’d like to learn more about the mindfulness
approach then please email me. So medications are often prescribed for OCD
to reduce the intensity of the anxiety. But I think you’ll understand that’s just
treating the symptoms and not treating the underlying process that creates those intrusive
thoughts. It’s not changing the imagery. So if you would like to learn more about how
to treat OCD without using medications, but through through this mindfulness-based approach,
do please contact me. Most people see quite dramatic changes within
a matter of a few weeks once you start applying these mindfulness methods. And this will include meditation, but a different
kind of meditation than you may be familiar with. Because, when I talk about mindfulness meditation
I’m talking about meditating on the mind. So in this case we would actually learn to
meditate on those intrusive thoughts. We would deliberately bring them into the
mind and start building this non-reactive relationship and start exploring how to change
the imagery of those thoughts. So this is training, active focused training,
to help those thoughts resolve themselves and lose their emotional charge so they no
longer become a problem. Generally, when you can do that with thoughts
then the compulsive behaviors will also subside because there is nothing that is connected
to the behaviors. There’s nothing that can feed the compulsive
behaviors. So if you would like to learn more and you
would like to schedule some online therapy sessions with me, then please contact me. Thank you.