Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Related Disorders
7 W 36th St, 15 Fl, New York, NY
(212) 203-9792

“I’ve been in therapy for a long time and it hasn’t helped my OCD”

"I've been in therapy for a long time and it hasn't helped my OCD"

It is essential that treatment for OCD follows the evidence-based principles practiced at The Reeds Center. When psychotherapy focuses on understanding the past to explain OCD, it is unlikely that it will help reduce or manage the symptoms effectively. Additionally, when therapy becomes about reassuring and reasoning away intrusive fears and compulsions, it is also unlikely to help.

This is because intrusive fears are not just based on a misunderstanding about what is dangerous (many sufferers of OCD know rationally that their fears are unlikely but they still have them). Rather OCD effects parts of the emotional system involved in managing danger so that when a person’s fears are triggered their emotional system experiences distress to the point that a rational understanding is not sufficient. This is why Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) (see “Treatment for OCD” for a description) is needed because it helps to activate and desensitize intrusive thoughts at the emotional level so these thoughts and their triggers are no longer experienced as highly distressing.