People with OCD are often plagued with a wide variety of painful thoughts. These include horrible images, worries they might harm themselves or others, or beliefs that they are condemned altogether. It’s natural why people would struggle with these, why they would try to push them away and get rid of them. However, there’s a wide literature of research demonstrating that efforts to get rid of painful thoughts make them more intense and more intrusive. And there’s newer research that finds that acceptance of painful thoughts and feelings may be the most effective way for defusing OCD. The study OCD expert Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz’s lab looked at the relationship of two ways of dealing with OCD. The study found an Read more

Portland Psychotherapy recently asked members of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science what they think are the best tools for learning about and practicing mindfulness meditation. Top experts from around the world chimed in to let us know about apps, recordings, books, and other resources they find to be the most useful, and we wanted to take the opportunity to pass their insights along to you. What is Mindfulness Meditation? Mindfulness meditation, sometimes referred to as present moment awareness training, builds skills that have been scientifically proven to improve psychological health. Dozens of scientific studies show that mindfulness training can increase well-being, reduce psychological suffering, enhance emotional processing, improve performance, and help people to focus their attention on who and Read more

People with OCD Prefer Exposure to Alternative Treatments

December 20, 2016

Brian Thompson Ph.D.

Mad in America published a summary of a recent study that surveyed people with OCD about treatment preferences. I spent the last hour trying to track down a copy of the actual research article, which has not been officially published yet, but I was unable to locate a pdf and read it myself. One of the authors is Dr. Helen Blair Simpson, whose brief information video about OCD is a good one. The study The researchers surveyed 216 people with OCD about their treatment preferences. Most people preferred Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) as a 1st line treatment. The 2nd most popular treatment was serotonin reuptake inhibitors (i.e., antidepressants). Based on how the abstract was worded, there may be no Read more

In people who develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are often signs in childhood. However, OCD in children can be hard to distinguish from childhood fears and age-appropriate magical thinking. For OCD Awareness Week, The Washington Post published an article by Sarah Maraniss-Vander Schaaf about the experiences of Ethan, a young man who developed OCD in childhood. It’s an effort to help people look past the stereotypes of people with OCD as being excessively clean and organized or washing their hands excessively. As the writer notes: “…true OCD is often unspoken. It’s hard to recognize, as well, when growing up in a family where anxiety is normal, or in a school where behavior might be labeled school avoidance, or when no one Read more

Resources for self- and other-care in difficult times

November 24, 2016

Portland Psychotherapy Team

Many of us have been impacted by the election results.  Whether you are feeling shock, fear, anger, sadness, confusion, disbelief, or excitement, joy, satisfaction or hope, you are likely not alone. If you have been struggling, some of these resources might be helpful (thanks to Jennifer Villatte for sharing this list).  I prefaced each with a quote that spoke to me.  I also noticed the urge to provide a more in depth review of each, but eventually decided to practice self-care by calling it good :).  I hope you find something you might be seeking. Resources for Self-Care in the Face of Social Injustice and Marginalization “When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, Read more