As the name suggests, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterised by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive, often disturbing thoughts or images that are difficult to get rid of and cause a lot of anxiety. Compulsions are behaviours or rituals that a person performs to temporarily reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessions.
The types of obsessions and compulsions that I encounter in my clients can vary. However, there are some common clusters:
- Contamination: Individuals with contamination fears have obsessive thoughts that germs or other contaminants may cause them to become sick or die. They perform compulsions like hand-washing, showering, sterilising their environment, or cleaning their house to an excessive degree.
- Checking: These individuals have obsessive thoughts that something important has not been done. For instance, they may worry that they did not turn off the stove, turn off a light, or lock the door. The compulsion is to check over and over that it has been done.
- Symmetry/Order: These individuals feel anxiety if something is not in its right place, or not the same on both sides. For example, people with symmetry obsessions may tie and retie their shoes over and over until it “feels right” on both sides, or they may spend hours arranging things in their homes.
- Hoarding: Individuals with hoarding obsessions feel a great deal of anxiety about throwing anything away because they worry that they will need it again some day. They may have homes that are overcrowded with papers or other items they collect and can not throw away.
- Repeating/Counting: These individuals have obsessive thoughts that they need to repeat something a certain number of times to prevent something bad from happening. Repeating often includes mental rituals, such as repeating a word in one’s mind a certain number of times. A person may also have counting compulsions, such as counting tiles on the floor out loud or counting in their head.
All of the above clusters of OCD have the potential to seriously interfere with a person's ability to live a balanced and and full life. They can all be addressed in therapy.
Length of therapy for OCD: 24 appointments of fifty minutes each.
Fee: £75 per fifty minute appointment. Reduced fee slots are £45 but limited and based on demonstrated financial need.
Location: Southwark (Waterloo) and Covent Garden.