Behavioral Therapy for OCD

I always insist that my OCD patients listen to or read Brainlock, by Jeffrey Schwartz. The book not only explains effective cognitive behavioral techniques, but also teaches how to do “self talk.” This helps reduce OCD behavior. Schwartz and his UCLA colleagues also demonstrated that doing these techniques not only decreases OCD symptoms, but actually changes the biochemical abnormalities in the brain. This is verified by brain scans.
The basic concept is easy to learn. But like playing tennis, knowing what to do is a lot easier than being able to consistently do it. It takes hard work and persistence.
Think of OCD as a bully that wants to run your life. Develop an attitude of aggressiveness that you are going to be in charge.
BRAINLOCK:
STEP ONE: Relabel
•It’s not me, it’s my OCD!?
STEP TWO: Reattribute
•It’s my high serotonin!?
STEP THREE: Refocus
Shift the mind to an activity that is of interest to you.
STEP FOUR: Revalue
This is not a real danger. It is an irrational thought. Compulsive rituals are a waste of time!
The most important and also the hardest step is refocusing.
Experiment with approaches:
• Visual (read something)
• Auditory (listen to music)
• Kinesthetic (exercise)
• Combine any of the above
Each person has to find what works best for them. It also helps to get a spouse, friend, or family member to listen to the tape or read the book. This will ensure a good support system for staying with the program until an improvement of symptoms is achieved.
Behavior therapy has proven to be effective in 60 to 90 percent of OCD patients.

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