OCD Treatment Using Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy in Louisville, KY
Do you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and are desiring to reduce your symptoms using an evidence-based treatment such as Exposure and Response (ERP) therapy?
- Do you experience repetitive and unwanted intrusive thoughts, images, and/or urges leading to feelings of anxiety?
- Have you attempted to ignore or suppress these thoughts, images, and urges without success?
- Do you find yourself engaging in repetitive or rigid behaviors, avoidance, or mental acts in order to reduce feelings of anxiety or prevent a dreaded event or situation from occurring?
- Are your family and friends frustrated by your desire for constant reassurance?
- Do you feel isolated from others or unable to properly function in social or work functions because of your symptoms?
- Do you feel like you no longer have freedom but have to engage in ongoing frustrating behaviors in order to try to feel better?
- Do you feel like your symptoms control you and you no longer have control of your life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then an OCD therapist trained in understanding and providing OCD treatment may be able to help you.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health diagnosis that consists of obsessions (distressing thoughts, images, and urges) leading to compulsions (behaviors, avoidance, or mental acts) in an attempt to reduce feelings of distress or to prevent a feared situation from occurring.
OCD affects men and women and children and adults alike. How OCD affects each person can look very different. OCD can show itself in many ways, including obsessions surrounding contamination, perfectionism, causing harm to oneself or others, religion/morality concerns, taboo or sexual thoughts, having a “just right” feeling, self-identity, relationships, or existential concerns, to name a few. To reduce the distress caused by these obsessions, individuals may engage in compulsions, some of which include washing/cleaning, checking, repetitious actions/movements, mental acts (counting, praying, checking, reassuring oneself, reviewing), avoiding others/situations, seeking reassurance from others, arranging/ordering, or telling/confessing. OCD and how it appears can vary greatly between individuals and symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe.
If OCD is left untreated, the likelihood of getting better is greatly reduced. Often OCD reduces the quality of life of individuals causing impairment in their social and work lives. Simple, easy tasks may become time-consuming and overwhelming. Individuals may try to involve others in their compulsions in order to feel less alone or reassured, which can negatively affect their relationships. Often, individuals may avoid situations or people that trigger obsessions and/or compulsions leading to isolation and loneliness. Some individuals can experience such extreme symptoms that they no longer feel safe or capable of leaving their house or being around others.
So what OCD treatment is available to you and what does it involve?
What is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy and how can it help with OCD treatment?
We are able to provide ERP therapy, an evidence-based OCD treatment proven to help reduce symptoms of OCD. ERP therapy is a specialized type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was created specifically for OCD. This OCD therapy involves breaking two associations: the association between an individual’s obsession and the resulting anxiety/distress, as well as the connection between engaging in a compulsion and feeling relief afterward. ERP therapy is able to break these connections using exposure and ritual prevention.
Exposures involve in-vivo and imaginal exposures. An in-vivo exposure is an in-person exposure where an individual faces the underlying fear that is involved in their obsession. An imaginal exposure is a written script that details the underlying fear coming true allowing the individual to visualize the event as though it were actually occurring. The point of exposure is to allow the individual to face their fear repetitively and for a long period of time without engaging in a compulsion or avoidance until they learn to tolerate their distress and the anxiety reduces on its own. For example, watching a scary movie one time can leave someone feeling highly anxious and fearful afterward. However, if that individual watched the same scary movie or re-read the movie script every day for 2 weeks, they would eventually feel bored or amused, instead of fearful. This is how exposures break the connection between the obsession and the resulting distress by allowing the body and mind to learn that it can tolerate the anxiety and eventually re-regulate on their own without any intervention.
ERP therapy also involves ritual prevention. Ritual prevention is used to break the habit of engaging in rituals/compulsions in response to anxiety. By choosing to stop engaging in compulsions that are easier to discontinue or are considered lower-hanging fruit, the individual eventually builds the confidence and momentum to stop engaging in compulsions that are more challenging to stop. Eventually, the individual finds that their day is no longer spent endlessly engaging in behaviors or mental acts that are time-consuming and upsetting and instead, have more free time to do what they want to do. For example, an individual that regularly washes their hands in the sink and also uses hand sanitizer throughout the day may be asked to use the hand sanitizer half as often. Once the individual is able to do this successfully, the individual will be asked to cease all hand sanitizing and then, wash their hands in the sink half as often. Once this is achieved, the individual would be asked to only wash their hands after using the bathroom. By starting slow and making ongoing achievements, individuals can eventually spend more of their day doing what they desire and less of their day engaging in rituals.
OCD treatment is available for you today with the help of our OCD therapists.
Find OCD treatment today with the help of an OCD Therapist in Louisville, KY, surrounding areas, and PSYPACT states.
Attempting to reduce symptoms of OCD alone can feel scary, overwhelming, and isolating. It is a tricky disorder to combat without the help of a trained professional. Having someone to help you along the way using ERP therapy, along with encouragement and accountability can make all the difference.
Grace Psychological Services is able to provide OCD treatment using ERP therapy, an evidence-based treatment, proven to reduce symptoms. We stay up to date on the latest scientific research on OCD therapy. At our practice, a therapist will assess your symptoms to determine if you have OCD and/or any other mental health concerns. Then, they will customize a treatment plan specifically for your symptoms using ERP therapy. They can tailor ERP therapy to match your presenting concerns no matter how your OCD presents itself. If you are looking for someone trained in ERP, then Grace Psychological Services may be a good fit for you.
Our OCD therapists can help you find relief from your obsessions and compulsions. Let us help you find freedom from your OCD. Contact us today to start learning the necessary skills to lead a life that you control without OCD controlling you. For face-to-face appointments, please reach out to our location in Louisville, KY. We are also available to help those in the surrounding areas and PSYPACT states using a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform. Dr. Whitley Paden has received extensive training in ERP Therapy for OCD treatment. To schedule an appointment, please click here.