How Do I Know If I Need Help with OCD?

Making the decision to start therapy can be anxiety-producing. You might ask yourself: how do I know if OCD therapy is right for me? There are many things to consider. 

First, you want to consider what symptoms you are experiencing. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), OCD has various subtypes based on the presence of obsessions/compulsions in the patient. During OCD therapy, you will learn psychoeducation regarding OCD and anxiety. This can help you to better understand your symptoms. 

When obsessions and/or compulsions are time consuming and lead to frequent disruption in your daily functioning, it may warrant a further assessment of whether symptoms are meeting criteria for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 

The various types of intrusive thoughts that one might experience in the context of OCD may include:

  • Contamination or germ-related obsessions
  • Harm-related intrusive thoughts
  • Symmetry or ordering obsessions
  • Sexual-intrusive thoughts 
Cleaning is a sign you might need OCD Therapy

In response to these obsessions, individuals may develop a variety of compulsions. These may include:

  • Cleaning or washing compulsions
  • Mental review or “figuring it out” compulsions
  • Checking compulsions
  • Reassurance-seeking or confessing “bad thoughts”

The list above is not exhaustive and OCD can actually be about anything and everything! It is always important to speak with a qualified healthcare professional to better understand your symptoms.

Some individuals require OCD therapy when intrusive thoughts are distressing and the compulsions (in response to the obsessions) become time consuming and significantly interfere in their life. As part of OCD therapy, you can also receive family support for OCD. This can be very helpful as we know that OCD often lives within the family and can cause relational distress. 

Interested in virtual therapy in Ontario for OCD? Read on to learn more!

Should I get OCD Therapy?

If you have decided that your symptoms of OCD are interfering in your life, it might be time for OCD therapy. Virtual therapy for OCD can be highly effective. It allows you to target triggering things in the very environment where they are often occurring (i.e., your home). 

By starting OCD therapy, you will learn many important skills and strategies. An evidence-based approach for OCD therapy is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, with an emphasis on ERP. By engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for OCD, you will learn a lot of skills that you can use on your own, in between sessions. These skills will help you to change your relationship with your intrusive thoughts and your anxiety. Here are the types of skills you will learn:

  • Psychoeducation about OCD and anxiety
  • The experience of anxiety is uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous
  • Connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • How to face situations and thoughts that you fear
  • Doing Exposure and Response Prevention – in-session and on your own
  • Challenging thoughts that underlie core fears within your OCD

OCD therapy, using CBT approaches, has been found to be effective for adults and adolescents. If you engage in this type of therapy, you can be confident that you will be receiving an intervention that has been shown to help individuals with varying types of OCD presentations.

Another type of CBT approach for OCD is called Inference-Based CBT. This is an evidence-based treatment that is based on the idea that obsessions are inferences about “possibilities”. For example, “I might be a pedophile” or “I might be contaminated”. We might experience these obsessional doubts because we distrust our senses and rely too much on our imagination. However, in reality, there is no actual basis for the doubt we are experiencing. When this obsessional doubt emerges we can easily get confused between what is real and what is just existing within our imagination. Our obsessions will continue until we can “resolve” them by carrying out compulsions and rituals. 

I-CBT might be helpful for you! In I-CBT, you will work with your therapist to resolve this obsessional doubt. This is accomplished by initially learning that obsessional doubts are actually different from other types of uncertainty. Typical doubts arise from uncertainty that others might agree is reasonable. However, obsessional doubts are found to emerge as a result of our OCD, not because of what might actually be happening in the “reality” of the moment and situation. 

I-CBT for OCD is worth exploring as you begin your treatment journey. When you learn I-CBT you begin to create different stories that challenge the OCD story and obsessional doubt. Throughout your treatment, your therapist will help you to trust in your 5 senses to allow for a different reasoning process to occur. You actually do this already! However, it is usually happening in situations outside of your OCD!

I-CBT for OCD can help you to trust yourself during the course of OCD therapy. In doing so, you will learn not to engage in compulsions and rituals in order to feel better. I-CBT has been found to be effective for OCD and is worth exploring for your first therapy experience or if other types of treatment have not been effective for your OCD. 

Looking for an OCD therapist to help you with CBT or I-CBT? We can help you at FTPS! Read on to learn more about what to expect during OCD Therapy. 

How Do I Prepare for OCD Therapy?

In order to prepare for OCD therapy, you can speak with your therapist about the type of approach they are using and what might happen in the first few treatment sessions. They should be able to provide you with an overview of what treatment will involve. You can also ask them about their training and clinical experience. 

Looking for an OCD therapist trained to work with individuals with OCD? All our associates who work with individuals with OCD have a great deal of training and experience in this area of mental health services. Further, we continue to engage in training and workshops to ensure you will receive the best care possible. We hope you have no hesitation in reaching out to us! We offer virtual therapy in Ontario for OCD and would be delighted to work with you.

If family support for OCD is something you are interested in as part of your treatment, speak to your therapist. Our therapists work with individuals and their loved ones in order to offer evidence-based family support for OCD. We know that OCD often lives within the family. Family members and loved ones will often accommodate an individual’s rituals in order to help them. It is very understandable. It often seems that by doing this, we might help the individual to feel better. Unfortunately, we are actually feeding the OCD and anxiety and making things worse. Therefore, family support for OCD is a very important component of treatment. You will learn the following types of skills:

  • Psychoeducation about OCD
  • Psychoeducation about OCD and how family members will often accommodate rituals 
  • Education about how OCD manifests and how we can recognize OCD in our loved ones
  • Strategies to support your loved one, but not their OCD
  • Strategies to coach your loved one through Exposure and Response Prevention work

You might also be interested in virtual therapy for OCD. This can allow you to engage in accessible and flexible therapeutic support. Read more about the benefits of virtual therapy for exposure and response prevention work here.

You might want to come in with a list of questions to ask your therapist to help you feel like you know what to expect. These questions might include:

  • Does my therapist know evidence-based assessment and treatment approaches for individuals with OCD, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) work?
  • Has my therapist worked with individuals with anxiety, intrusive thoughts and OCD?
  • Do I feel comfortable speaking with my therapist – can I tell them my intrusive thoughts?
  • Is my therapist able to speak about treatment approaches in a way that makes sense to me?
  • Does my therapist understand my treatment goals?

How Do I Get Started?

Does FTPS provide OCD treatment near me? If you are interested in OCD therapy treatment, we offer virtual therapy in Ontario for OCD. We also provide in-person OCD treatment, as needed. These are great things to talk about with our team!

How do our services work? These are all the services we offer to get you started at FTPS for the best treatment possible.

  • We always offer a free intake call with our intake coordinator who knows about OCD and will ask you important questions to understand what you are looking for
  • We will provide you with the opportunity to meet with an associate for a 30 minute no charge meet and greet. This provides you with an opportunity to speak with an associate, learn about their approach and ask all the questions you have
  • If the initial associate you met with is not a good match for you, you can meet with another associate – free of charge! 
  • Browse through our website and learn about the profiles of all our team members.
  • Talk to the intake team about who feels like a good fit. We will have suggestions as well, based on our experiences with the therapist-matching process

Reach out to us at Forward Thinking Psychological Services. We are ready to work with you and your loved ones on symptoms of OCD. We will bring you closer to a life that is of value to you. We look forward to hearing from you!

DISCLAIMER: This content is meant for informational and educational purposes only. Only a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose a mental health disorder. The content of this website is not meant to be a substitute for therapy. Visiting this website should not be considered to be equivalent to a relationship with FTPS. Mental health concerns should only be discussed in the context of providing professional services after the consent process has been completed with a qualified FTPS associate outside of our website.