Areas of Expertise
ROCD, or Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is a subtype of OCD characterized by intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors related to romantic relationships. Individuals with ROCD experience persistent doubts and anxieties about their relationship, questioning the love to their partner (or of the partner) and the compatibility of the relationship, or being preoccupied with attributes (e.g. Hight or face) and qualities (intelligence or humor) of their partner. This leads to a cycle of doubt and anxiety that can disrupt their emotional well-being and daily life.
Compulsions, such as monitoring of emotions, constant comparisons, excessive analysis, or reassurance provide can provide temporary relief in the short run but reinforce the obsessive cycle in the long run.
ROCD can have a significant impact on an individual's self esteem, emotional well-being and the quality of their relationship. It can create stress and strain within the partnership, as well as lead to feelings of guilt or shame for the individual experiencing the condition.
Treatment typically involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), where we use techniques like exposure and response prevention to challenge the obsessive cycle
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive and distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) performed to alleviate anxiety or prevent perceived harm. OCD can manifest in various subtypes, and I will provide a brief description of some commonly recognized subtypes, including sexual orientation obsessions, pedophile obsessions, and violent obsessions. However, please note that discussing these specific subtypes may be sensitive or triggering for some individuals.
1. Relationship obsessions: These obsessions revolve around concerns about one's romantic or interpersonal relationships. Individuals may have intrusive thoughts about the rightness of the relationship or their partner.
2. Sexual orientation obsessions: Individuals with this subtype experience intrusive thoughts, doubts, or fears about their sexual orientation. They may constantly question their sexual identity, despite having no actual doubts or uncertainty about their orientation.
3. Pedophile obsessions: People with this subtype experience distressing and intrusive thoughts about sexually harming children, despite having no actual desire or intention to do so. These individuals are horrified by these thoughts and often engage in compulsive behaviors to prevent any harm from occurring.
4. Sexual obsessions: Individuals with sexual obsessions experience intrusive and distressing thoughts, images, or impulses of a sexual nature that are inconsistent with their values or desires. These obsessions may involve explicit sexual content, taboo themes, or unwanted sexual impulses towards inappropriate individuals or situations (for example sex with my syster or a violent sexual act). People with sexual obsessions often engage in compulsive behaviors such as mental rituals, seeking reassurance, or avoiding situations that trigger these thoughts.
5. Violent obsessions: This subtype involves intrusive and distressing thoughts or images of committing violent acts, such as harming oneself or others. People with violent obsessions often experience extreme anxiety and engage in compulsions to prevent these thoughts from becoming a reality.
6. Contamination obsessions: Individuals with contamination obsessions have an intense fear of germs, dirt, or toxins. They may excessively worry about getting sick or causing harm to themselves or others through contact with "contaminated" objects or environments.
7. Symmetry and order obsessions: People with these obsessions feel a strong need for things to be arranged in a particular order or to have objects aligned symmetrically. They may experience distress or anxiety when things are perceived as "out of order" and engage in repetitive behaviors to create symmetry or restore order.
8. Health-related obsessions: These obsessions involve excessive concern about having a serious illness or disease. Individuals may obsessively check their body for signs of illness, seek reassurance from medical professionals, or constantly research symptoms.
9. Religious or moral obsessions: People with these obsessions may experience intrusive thoughts or fears related to religious or moral beliefs. They may be preoccupied with thoughts of committing a sin, going against their religious principles, or fear of punishment for immoral actions.
10. Hoarding obsessions: Hoarding obsessions involve an intense need to save and accumulate objects, even if they have little or no value. Individuals with hoarding obsessions may struggle to discard possessions and may experience extreme distress at the thought of getting rid of items.
11. Just-right obsessions: Just-right obsessions involve a need for things to feel "just right" or a sense of incompleteness until certain actions or rituals are performed. Individuals with just-right obsessions may have a strong urge to repeat specific actions until they feel a sense of symmetry, balance, or completion. This can manifest in various ways, such as repeatedly touching objects, arranging items precisely, or having to redo tasks until they feel "just right."
It is important to note that these obsessions do not reflect the true desires, beliefs, or intentions of individuals experiencing them. They are unwanted and distressing thoughts that cause significant anxiety. These subtypes of OCD can be challenging and distressing for those affected, as they often lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation.
Treatment for OCD, including its subtypes, typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), particularly a form called exposure and response prevention (ERP), is often used to help individuals confront and gradually reduce their anxiety associated with obsessions. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also be prescribed to help manage symptoms.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OCD or any other mental health condition, it is important to seek professional help from a mental health provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It is characterized by a range of symptoms that persist for an extended period after the traumatic event has occurred.
PTSD can be caused by a variety of traumatic experiences, including:
Combat and military-related trauma: Soldiers who have experienced combat situations, witnessed violence, or endured life-threatening events during their service can develop PTSD.
Physical or sexual assault: Survivors of physical or sexual assault, including domestic violence, rape, or childhood abuse, may develop PTSD.
Natural disasters: People who have lived through or witnessed natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods may develop PTSD.
Accidents: Those who have been involved in serious accidents, such as car crashes, plane crashes, or industrial accidents, can develop PTSD.
Childhood trauma: Children who experience traumatic events during their formative years, such as neglect, abuse, or witnessing violence, may develop PTSD that can persist into adulthood.
Medical trauma: Patients who have undergone invasive or life-threatening medical procedures, such as surgeries, intensive care unit stays, or traumatic childbirth experiences, may develop PTSD.
Witnessing violence or death: Bystanders who have witnessed violent acts, accidents, or the death of a loved one may develop PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD can vary but generally include:
Intrusive memories: Recurrent and distressing memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks, or nightmares.
Avoidance: Avoiding reminders, thoughts, or feelings associated with the trauma. This can include avoiding certain places, people, or activities that trigger distressing memories.
Negative changes in thinking and mood: Feeling detached, experiencing a persistent negative outlook, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Hyperarousal: Being constantly on edge, easily startled, having difficulty sleeping, irritability, and having an exaggerated startle response.
PTSD is a complex disorder that can have a significant impact on an individual's daily functioning, relationships, and overall well-being. It is important for individuals experiencing symptoms of PTSD to seek professional help, as there are effective treatments available to manage and alleviate the symptoms.
My Approach to Psychotherapy
As a cognitive behavioral therapist, I take an evidence-based approach to treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other concerns.
My training and experience have equipped me to utilize techniques like exposure and response prevention (ERP) for OCD and prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy for PTSD.
In ERP, I gradually expose clients to their fears or obsessions in a controlled setting, while teaching them skills to resist compulsions or anxiety-driven behaviors. This allows them to learn that their obsessive thoughts are not dangerous, and that anxiety naturally decreases over time. For PTSD, prolonged exposure therapy also involves gradually confronting trauma-related memories and situations, helping clients process and make sense of the events.
When working with clients with ptsd using Cognitive processing therapy I teach clients how to challenge and reframe distorted, negative thoughts that emerged after traumatic events. I help clients identify stuck points in their thinking and develop more balanced perspectives.
Throughout treatment, I take a collaborative approach, developing an individualized case conceptualization and treatment plan based on each client's unique symptoms, history and goals.
While cognitive behavioral techniques are my main focus, I also integrate elements of schema therapy, existential therapy and humanistic approaches as appropriate. For example, schema therapy helps address deeper patterns of thinking and behaving rooted in childhood experiences. Existential and humanistic techniques help clients find meaning, purpose and self-compassion. My aim is to treat the whole person, not just the diagnosis. I check in regularly with clients about our progress and therapeutic relationship to provide competent, compassionate care. My ultimate goal is to give clients the tools to build a life of health, purpose and resilience.