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OCD

By Michael A. Tompkins, PhD

Ambivalence—and a great deal of it—is a typical feature of hoarding disorder. Even clients who seek treatment for this debilitating condition bring considerable ambivalence to the goals and tasks of the treatment. Before you can work with a client’s ambivalence, you must first know what it looks like. Here are typical signs of ambivalence you may encounter when working with people who hoard.

Last week, we discussed hyperawareness OCD, the subtype of obsessive compulsive disorder categorized by somatic obsessions and the constant, unwanted awareness of normal involuntary bodily perceptions. Today, we delve into another subtype of this disorder: harm OCD.

The evolution of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) began with traditional strategies for managing mental illness; before the practice of psychotherapy was really developed, disorders like OCD were viewed as spiritual or moral issues, with the problem being the thoughts themselves, rather than the sufferer’s relationship to them. Then, following the emergence of the psychoanalytic model, talk therapy became the new standard of treatment for coping with obsessions and compulsions: in it, they were treated as symbolic manifestations of subconscious problems.

While mindfulness is one of the chief strategies for alleviating the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is used to call attention to the body and mind without judgment or evaluation, in some cases, the brain can be too aware. Hyperawareness OCD, one of the subtypes of obsessive compulsive disorder, is essentially mindfulness hijacked by obsession.

The skill of mindfulness develops from one’s ability to notice how the mind deals with the information it receives through sensory processes and the brain. By analyzing how your mind organizes, interacts with, and assigns meaning to your thoughts, you can observe the patterns and ingrained tendencies by which you frame and evaluate the world. The goal of mindfulness practice among OCD sufferers is to cultivate a positive relationship between the you and the mind.

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