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Everyone has a little bit of OCD in them. The frequency or intensity of the OCD thoughts or actions and the affect it has on the person’s life dictates whether a person should pursue counseling to reduce the OCD thoughts and behaviors. I have successfully reduced all types of OCD. Here are the most common I see in the office:

Perfectionism: Having very high standards in school achievement, work, relationships, or in other areas may be due to perfectionism. Perfectionism can also be shown as a strong fear of failure. A perfectionist will either want to put extensive amount of time and effort into what they are doing or avoid the project entirely due to the stress of completing it. When working with perfectionists, I realize that a person’s high standards are very hard to change, so I help people to deal with the stress of not able to achieve at the level that they desire as well as help them handle perceived failure.

Contamination: Washing hands excessively may be a sign of OCD. People with a fear of germs or disgust may do excessive showering, bathing, tooth-brushing, grooming, or toilet routines. Cleaning household items or other objects often may be due to a fear of contamination. People with this OCD subtype may do other things to prevent or remove contact with contaminants. Exposure therapy has proven to work in my office with my clients in helping them to gain confidence and reduce anxiety when dealing with contaminants, germs or something that gives them a feeling of disgust.

Checking: People with checking OCD may check to make sure that others are not harmed, mistakes didn’t happen, or something bad did not happen. This type of OCD can cause people to frequently check doors, windows, or locks. Exposure therapy has been very successful in reducing checking behaviors.

Repeating: People with this kind of OCD may reread as well as erase and rewrite often. They might repeat routine activities like going in and out of doors, turning a light switch on a certain number of times or repeat body movements like tapping and touching. Sometimes people will do things a certain number of times or an even or odd number of times. They might ask someone else to say something or do an action a certain number of times or until it feels “just right”. Exposure therapy is often used to reduce repeating behaviors.

Obsessing: Thinking about a worry over and over with the goal of gaining internal reassurance that the results will turn out well. People who obsess are hoping to find absolute certainty that the results will turn out positive. Cognitive therapy as well as acceptance and commitment therapy has benefited my clients in reducing anxiety and obsessive behaviors.

Just right: Arranging objects in a particular order or doing things a specific way. Difficulty changing the order or routine due to a fear of anxiety or bad things happening. People with this subtype of OCD have shown to reduce their anxiety and compulsive behaviors with exposure therapy.

Excessive reassurance: Assurance is asking for clarification one time to see if everything will be alright. Reassurance is repeatedly asking others questions in order to temporarily relieve anxiety. I frequently work with my clients and their parents or spouse to reduce reassurance behaviors as a high level of reassurance gives a person temporary relief from anxiety, but their anxiety is increased in the long run.

Fear of doing bad things: People who have a fear of harming others or themselves or fear blurting out obscenities in public may have this OCD subtype. Exposure therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy has shown to be very effective in dealing with the strong anxious feelings that this subtype of OCD creates.