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How to Tell a Therapist Your Intrusive Thoughts

How to Tell a Therapist Your Intrusive Thoughts

man speaking with therapist

A study estimates that around 2-3 million adults in the U.S. have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Many people living with OCD find it difficult to open up and talk openly during therapy. Many individuals struggling with OCD hesitate to disclose the nature of their intrusive thoughts due to shame, guilt, and/or the belief that they are the only individuals who have intrusive thoughts. By the time they are able to overcome this, their thoughts may have become so frequent and distressing that they begin causing impairment in occupational, social, and functional areas of their life.

If you have OCD, we realize that opening up to your therapist may not be easy for you.However, it is important to realize that the more you’re able to address your thoughts, worries, and feelings with your therapist, the more aid they are able to give you and tailor exposure based treatment to your specific intrusive thoughts and associated compulsions whether physical or mental. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone.

If you are beginning or interested in beginning therapy, here are some things to remember courtesy of The OCD & Anxiety Center, anxiety counselors in Orland Park and Oak Brook.

Your Therapist is Trained to Help People

Many people with OCD avoid discussing their worst fears with their friends or family as they do not want to stress them out or are scared of being judged for their thoughts.

Your therapist is a professional whose specializes in OCD and anxiety disorders. Your therapist’s  goal is to help his/her clients realize that they have the strength to fight their OCD and reclaim their lives. Additionally, therapeutic sessions are bound by confidentially so what you say in the context of therapy is completely private, unless your therapist has reason to believe that you are going to harm yourself or someone else.

Your Therapist Can Help You See Your Thoughts Differently

Individuals with OCD often have thoughts about harming themselves& others or things considered dirty, disgusting, or dangerous. Your therapist will use a clinical approach to help you address intrusive, distressing thoughts through exposure response prevention therapy and acceptance techniques to help you manage your intrusive thoughts effectively and reduce the impact OCD is having on your life.

The professional will help you practice therapeutic techniques (such as using language to externalize OCD, lean into uncertainty, and create emotional distance from your thoughts) to react differently and proactively when these distressing thoughts appear.

Your Therapist Needs to Know What’s Going On to Help You

Unless you share your thoughts and feelings with your therapist, they won’t be able to help you as effectively. You may feel that something bad might happen if you tell your therapist your scariest thoughts, however, it is important to realize that having intrusive thoughts does not mean you are a bad person.

Everyone has intrusive thoughts. The only difference between people with OCD and people without OCD is the way they respond to them. To help your therapist figure out ways to address your intrusive thoughts more effectively, you need to share your thoughts and the way you have been responding to them.

Your Therapist Has Heard It Before

Our anxiety counselors in Orland Park and Oakbrook see several patients everyday with OCD. You may think that you are a horrible person for having intrusive thoughts, but your therapist will tell you that they have heard stranger, more alarming, and terrible things before. They will tell you it’s perfectly normal to have bad thoughts; you just need to learn how to manage them.

Over the years, The OCD & Anxiety Center has helped countless people with anxiety problems reclaim their lives. Our therapists have worked hard for years to master an empathic approach to patient care. To make an appointment, call (630) 522-3124. We want to help you reclaim your life!

Dr. Maha Zayed is a psychologist and owner of The OCD & Anxiety Center.  The Center is located in two suburbs outside of Chicago.  She has devoted her career to specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy for anxiety, OCD, and anxiety-related disorders. She is comfortable working with children and adults and is able to provide treatment both in the office and outside of the office, wherever anxiety happens.

Click here for more information on Anxiety Treatment.

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2805 Butterfield Road suite 120
Oak Brook, IL 60523

(630) 522-3124

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